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Full text of "Processed World"

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THE JUNK STILL WORKS 3 

pw collective editorial 

LETTERS 8 

from our readers 

ENCRYPTION & THE DOSSIER SOCIETY 12 

article by torn athanasiou & staff 

THE BASTARD, DEATH IN THE WORKS, SILICON VALLEY GIRL 18 

short fiction by ana logue, d.s. black, and Jeffrey lener respectively 



-r7< 



SOUTH AFRICA: LABORATORY OF REPRESSION 20 

article by med-o 

HOT UNDER THE COLLAR 24 

vdtspeakout, unions in silicon valley?, watsonville strike revisited 

THE ACCOMPLICE 

fiction by ctiristopher winks 

WHEN SHOULD CURIOSITY KILL? 

article by tony lamanha 



^^ 



Allot the articles in Pro- 
cessed World reflect the 
views and fantasies of the 
author and not necessarily 
those of other contributors 






•CREDITS: Pauline Paranoia, 
ZoeNoe, Louis IVIichaelson, Tom 
Tomorrovif, Lucius Cabins, PM 
Delinquance, Maxine Holz,Ana 
Logue, Emily, Dennis Hayes, 
Primitivo IVIorales, D.S. Black, 
Med-o, Paxa Lourde, Laura S., 
Chris Winks, Michelle L.P., 
Rupert Burley, Doug, Frog, the 
Armenian, Friends of the Toad, 
Linda Thomas, Tony Lamanha, 
Clayton Sheridan, 
and many others. 



PRESSURES OF THE ASSEMBLY LINE 

poem by torn dark 

WAITING FOR JOSIE 44 

fiction by Charles aian \xmn 



g«S9SiKRffg 




SS®5SSWVWg§ 






SUBSCRIPTIONS (for 4 issues) 



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$3.00 each for back issues (earlier issues are partially photocopied) 
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Outside of U.S.: Please send $ in U.S. Funds, Infl Money Order, etc. ..Thanks! 
MAIL TO: Processed World, 55 Sutter St. #829, San Francisco, CA 94104 

























Welcome to Processed World Number Sixteen. This is our 5th 
Anniversary!— we've been hitting tlie streets with a new issue three 
times a year since 1981 Two distinct themes emerged in this issue: 
Animals (human and non-human) and a new Spring Fascism Preview! 




by Matthaw Finch 



Several articles attack the authority of scientists and technocrats, 
and theic self-justifying ideologies, Tom Athanasiou's "Encryption & 
The Dossier Society," our collective editorial "The J unk Still Works," 
and Tony Lamanha's "When Should Curiosity Kill?" agree; the 
problem lies not in the "abuse" of neutral technologies, but rather in 
the social webs which shape technologies for their specific purposes. 

"Encryption..." offers an intriguing technical insight into the 
problem of privacy in the computer age As the article points out, 
there are no merely technical solutions to the privacy problem in 
society, even without the technologies now available. States have 
managed during this century (in Nazi Germany or Stalinist USSR, for 
instance) to virtually abolish privacy in a glare of universal sur- 
veillance Curtailing the surveillance powers of government and 
corporate bureaucracies is thus an immediate and urgent task. 

We found ourselves divided on the question of space exploration, 
so on the facing page begins another collective editorial, provoked by 
the Challenger explosion. Some of us feel that the saturation point 
media blitz of patriotism and "mourning" itself constitutes an 
ominous and totalitarian trend. 

When Should Curiosity Kill?" avoids animal rights moralizing as 
well as the "species-ism" of those who insist we should view animals 
as mere resources for our exploitation. The author discusses the 
realities of animal experimentation and dissects the self-serving 
rhetoric of those whose power and income depend on the unrestrained 
exploitation of animals. He also presents his own views of the moral 
issues involved and concludes with practical proposals for immediate 
improvements 

Our fiction and poetry selection adds to the Spring Fascism Preview 
(and Animals theme) with a look at the brutality and deep-rooted 
racism of many Americans. Charles Alan Irwin's "Waiting For Josie" 
is told through the eyes of a prototypical redneck, a racist, 
wife-beating brute reflecting on his life as he waits for his wife to bail 
him out of jail That racist, patriarchal views are by no means limited 
to rednecks is demonstrated in Christopher Winks's "The 
Accomplice, " a story about a corporate executive and the 
almost-guilty conscience he spills to an old journalist friend during 
a high octane luncheon monologue. Tom Clark's narrative poem, 
"Pressures of the Assembly Line," tells the true story of bottle factory 
worker Sonny Hamlett, pushed over the edge by a boss one day The 
simple but horrific story of Sonny running amok, shows the rebellious 
worker without a rebellious social movement imploding in isolation.. 
D S Black's "Death In The Works " also deals with isolation and 
suicide, this time in the stuffy complacency of a library Ana Logue's 
The Bastard" captures the temp's predicament in shorthand, and 
Jeffrey Lener's "Silicon Valley Girl" provides a bit of wordy wit to 
lighten up a heavy issue. 

These work-related themes lead us to our rich '"Hot Under The 
Collar" section which in this issue features, among other things, 
excerpts from a "VDT Speakout" recently held in SF, more on the 
failure of AFL-CIO unions in Silicon Valley, and an update on the 
Watsonville cannery strike featured in PW #15. Lastly, "South Africa: 
Laboratory of Repression," by Med-O, provides a synopsis of the 
current balance of forces in South Africa, along with a closer look at 
how computers and other high tech items (many of them US-made) are 
used by the white minority. Governments throughout the world watch 
closely as the S A. police state wages war against an impoverished 
and hostile majority. Like the Falklands/Malvinas war of '82 (and as 
the Spanish Civil War was for Hitler in 1937-39) could S.A. be a 
proving (killing) ground for "security management techniques" for all 
entrenched minorities? 

Special note to current and prospective contributors: We LOVE to 
receive articles, stories, poetry, graphics, photographs, collages, 
cartoons, and especially LETTERS to the editor! For manuscripts, 
please send 3 copies, double-spaced and typed; for graphics, send 
copies (stats or positive half-tones are best but photocopies are OK 
too) Processed World remains an entirely volunteer project; we pay 
contributors with 2-issue subscriptions if we don't use your stuff, and 
4-issue subs if we do Send to Processed World, 55 Sutter St. #829, 
San Francisco, CA 94104, USA. 

SUBSCRIBERS!! CHECK YOUR LABEL! DOES IT SAY 14, 15 or 
16 NEXT TO YOUR NAME? THEN YOU HAVE EXPIRED! We are 
too broke and lazy to send you 8 letters reminding you to renew, so 
please redeploy your assets, and fill out the blank on page 1 and send 
us a renewal check! THANKS!! Tax-deductible contributions to PW 
are now possible! Make check payable to Bay Area Center for Art & 
Technology, ear-marked for PW, mail to BACAT, 37 Clementina St., 
San Francisco, CA 94105. 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



U was much prettier than a car crash — the sci-fi book- 
cover scene of the rocket climbing into space; the bustle 
of the press, scientists, the military; and then sud- i 
denly, while the sense of wonder and awe was still / 
swollen in the mouth— poof!— kablooee!— it's rain- * 
Ing astronauts! If you're into all that J. 

stuff, the hard-punching drama must ,, /^ 4 

have been almost too much . y' * / ^ 

Sort of a Rocky movie jf /^^ 

that even nice, anti- 



#% s 



tbe i« 





war clergyman, tectino-leftists, and concerned social 

science teachers could get into — death is a drug and 

we need to score. 1 True to form, the folks who put 

out PW, misfits that we are, had different responses 

f to the fireworks spectacle. If we were by ourselves or 

with like-minded friends, reactions ranged from 

blase to smug to pleased. Others, who were with 

people who swallowed the emotional/ideological 

1^^. bait, had a common experience of put- 

^ "^ ting up a social front of being saddened 

' I by the event, their real thoughts and 

- feelings held in suspense (Did you hear 

what happened? Isn't it terrible?! ) With the news of the 

' hurry-up-and-safety-be-damned attitude of NASA, we 

wondered if OSHA and NASA hadn't in fact merged. So 

here are our varied views on the hoopla... 




IN SCIENCE WE TRUST 

The astronauts died so close to -the 
ground; it might almost have been an 
airplane crash. How my imagination would 
have scared had they perished in deepest 
space. 

The Russians photographing the dark 
side of the moon, the Americans landing on 
the moon, the Voyager and other craft 
reporting on new moons and rings, these 
are accomplishments as wonderful to 
behold as great pyramids and cathedrals. 
Like those monuments of other civiliza- 
tions, the space program does not testify to 
the attainment of social justice but rather 
to the allocation of scarce resources 
towards spiritual ends. Do we not worship 
the scientific spirit? Do we not place our 



faith in technology? 

The taith that inspired the grand and 
elegant constructions in Palenque, Tihua- 
naco, Athens, Luxor, Reims, etc. is the 
faith we have invested in our scientists and 
engineers and the bureaucracies that 
shelter them. Eventually, they too shall fall 
from our collective imaginations and go thy 
way of all illusion. 

The pursuit of truth and beauty is every 
person's life. Science in the service of the 
state serves the state as religions always 
have. We are exalted in our space 
explorations and we are brought down by 
them as they lead to more sophisticated 
engines of destruction. Our quest for tran- 
scendence is honorable and deep in our 
human roots. Our willingness to suspend 
disbelief and blindly follow priests and 
kings is also part of our heritage. 

— b]; Ana Logue 




DAGWOOD & BLONDIE IN SPACE 

The Challenger space shuttle explosion 
threatened to re-open a national debate on 
the merits of the space program. Not only 
was it NASA's first public disaster since 
the late '60s, but I't was a potential PR 
catastrophe for Reagan, since this flight 
was hyped to children all over the U.S. for 
months. This particular flight was de- 
signed to win over the hearts of tomorrow's 
electorate to the glossy allure of space 
travel, before they had a chance to think 
about it. After all, today's children are the 
ones who will have to pay for Reagan's 
agenda of militarizing and conquering 
space. And what better way to appeal to 
children's fantasies than having a Teacher/ 
Mommy up there, paving the way to the 
universe? 

Before the initial confusion and shock 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



could settle, Reagan rushed on TV to 
reassure all the kids whose lesson plan had 
just been blown to bits. In a masterful in- 
terpretation of the event to viewers whose 
faith in Our Mission in Space may have 
been shattered, a pontifical Reagan of- 
ficially announced the Apotheosis of the 
Seven Martyrs. Reagan assured us that we 
could truly honor the sacrificial iamb/astro- 
nauts not by cautiously reconsidering the 
merits of peopled space flights, not by 
learning from this tragedy how to prevent 
another one, but only by getting back on 
the horse and continuing where they so 
unwittingly fell off. Having established the 
inevitability of disaster and the intangibil- 
ity of any immediate guidelines for suc- 
cess, the administration can now pass off 
the gross negligence that apparently led to 
the blowup as mere overzealousness on the 
part of History Makers. This left some of us 
shaking our heads at the stupidity of it all, 
but after a few days of intense public 
relations work and TV-based National 
Mourning, people seemed to accept and 
even endorse this. One week later, Reagan 
proposed the dramatic enlargement of the 
space budget!! 

By the time the truth began to surface 



and heads started rolling, the continuation 
of the space program and the shuttle story 
were old news. If many people changed 
their minds when they discovered that the 
"accident" was more like criminal negli- 
gence or manslaughter, we'll never hear 
about it on TV. 



Since the Russians sent up Sputnik in 
1957, the U.S. quest in space has always 
been primarily a military one. "National 
security" and the attempt to gain first- 
strike capability have underlain most 
satellite developments, and are at the root 
of the shuttle/space/SDI plans. 

The US space shuttle program is por- 
trayed not as humanity's progress or 
accomplishment, but that of the Best 
Country in The World, the United States. 
As such it becomes a major prop in the 
spectacle of patriotism and also fits into the 
historical pattern of US reliance on the 
rhetoric of expansion across new frontiers. 

But the appeal of the space program 
goes deeper than militarism and national- 
ism. The exploration of space holds a 
powerful fascination. Decades of science 
fiction literature, film and art, combined 




with 25 years of space shots, have fired the 
popular imagination. As space proponents 
convincingly argue, curiosity and striving 
to understand the universe are essential to 
our humanity and creativity. The problem 
arises when fantasies and the desire for 
knowledge serve to justify or obscure the 
contemporary reality of space exploration. 
Many who support the space program close 
their eyes to its militarist function, pro- 
claiming the main purpose of NASA to be 
the pursuit of pure knowledge — despite the 
by now well-known fact that funding for the 
shuttle was only attained bu NASA's 
compromises with the Pentagoii, compro- 
mises not likely to be undone as long as the 
government remains intact. With the 
installation of the Navy's head of space 
operations at the helm of NASA, and joint 
appeals from NASA and the Air Force for a 
replacement shuttle, the real purpose is 
clear. 

Like the H-bomb designers of the '40s, 
the scientists and technicians who create 
the necessary technology are either una- 
ware of, or psychologically detached from 
the results of their labor. While erecting 
the essential building blocks of global an- 
nihilation, technicians enjoy the thrill of 
making their toys work and comfort 
themselves with fantasies of Utopian space 
colonies where the conflicts and problems 
of life on Earth will be left behind. 

The transcendence of social problems 
through "escape" into space hooks re- 
markable numbers of people on space ex- 
ploration. Establishing space colonies or 
homesteading on some heretofore un- 
known hospitable planet, would require 
giant leaps in scientific understanding. 
And yet space enthusiasts advocate 
moving into space as a panacea for Earth's 
problems of overpopulation and pollution — 
a solution requiring far more sophistication 
than would have been needed to avoid the 
problems in the first place. Let the Earth 
and most of its inhabitants rot, and let us 
smart, future-looking (probably white) 
people move on to clean living in space! In 
the model colonies problems that abound 
on Earth miraculously disappear; families 
live happily with problems no more serious 
than the daily squabbles of Dagwood and 
Blondie. 

Less grandiose but equally fantastic 
proposals include flushing our toxic and 
radioactive wastes into space. One hopes 
that the shuttle explosion has shaken our 
faith in such technical fixes, but it probably 
hasn't. Under the guise of ecoconscious- 
ness, these suggestions actually represent 
a "logical" extension of the late-capitalist 
use-it-up-and-throw-it-away mentality, in 
this case applied to the whole planet. We 
may have turned the Earth into a 
dangerous garbage dump, but there's 
plenty of room out there, so let's just move 
on. 

The problem is not that space explora- 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



tion inspires flights of fantasy or awakens 
the desire for knowledge, nor even that it is 
a waste of resources. If fewer resources 
were spent on devising new means of de- 
struction, and on making wasteful, redun- 
dant commodities and packaging, there 
would be plenty of wealth and time avail- 
able for space exploration. But not a space 
exploration which is a patriotic smoke- 
screen for a military campaign. Un-peopled 
space probes have already provided us 
with much of what we've learned about the 
universe — the Voyager mission through 
the solar system and the probes of Venus 
and Mars. Many astronomers claim that 
manned expeditions are a terrible waste at 
this point, since perhaps ten robot space 
shots could be financed by the cost of one 
peopled shot. 

The gnarly problems of living with 
humans and nature will never be solved by 
sending a few hundreds or thousands off in 
metal containers floating in the vacuum of 
space. In the meantime, understanding 
how people come so readily to see this 
techno-fantasy as a solution to these prob- 
lems may help us to penetrate the logic of 
the social system that got us into this mess! 

— by Lucius Cabins/ Maxine Holz 



■fygggaagaiygg^a^yggggggr 




SPACE & THE ETERNAL RETURN 

Space is a dream away from home, but 
since in the last 30 years it has come within 
our extended sphere of influence, the 
reality we find is not always what we 
imagined. It has become a frontier for a 
technological elite that is intensely dual- 
istic in its approach, wavering between a 
voracious Scylla of military/nationalistic 
ambitions, and the Charybdis of pure re- 
search, which can just as easily drain the 
coffers on obscure and quixotic missions. 

The Challenger disaster, the Uranus 
flyby, and the Halley's Comet rendezvous 
have made this a year of the jackpot in 
terms of public awareness and debate. 
Incoming astronomical data outstrip our 
ability to interpret and digest in real time; 
the Challenger post mortem brings home 
the high cost of managerial myopia and 
technological hubris. Accidents will hap- 
pen, but this setback has renewed 
skepticism about the whole program to put 
people in space — it's one more either/or 
decision people feel obliged to make. 
There's even a sense that any space effort 
is at the expense of our more pressing 
mundane concerns; in a nutshell, it's Space 
and the Price of Grain. 

I think it is important to stress that 
regardless of the shortsighted, often 
wrongheaded goals of governmental debis- 
ion-making that presently hold sway in 
space research and development, we do 
have a future in space, whether we like it or 



« TO NASA WITH LOVE 

N 

H On with the space program, 
m Shuttles shall not cease! 



i 
n 
M 

N 

N 
_ --,- ^ 

^ And since you're taking citizens, ^ 

* take my boss — please! ^ 



* by Linda Thomas 



nriiiii ] 



cztl 



not, that is worth considering. The 
National Commission on Space is preparing 
recommendations for the president which 
could well determine priorities through the 
end of the century with reference to the 
first colony in space, a Mars mission, etc. 

Rather than list the potential economic 
rewards and strategic errors to be realized 
in space, or the perils of political naivete of 
the scientists who pave the way outward, I 
would like instead to touch on this urge 
that implies Earth is not room enough. 

Is it part of human destiny, an ascent to 
heaven that will make us as gods, or at 
least take us one more rung up the 
evolutionary ladder? Clearly these are far- 
fetched, outlandish ruminations, but they 
do hint at the visionary reveries and 
aspirations of the dreamers who are among 
those propelling the drive into the ocean of 
night. They've been with us from the word 
go— it's their need to fly that is as basic as 
any terrestrial exploration. In the eight- 
eenth century, they took the sky with bal- 
loons; it may at first have seemed a lark, a 
peccadillo indulged by eccentrics, but it 
soon gave rise to more practical appli- 
cations. 

Of course all analogies need qualifica- 
tion. The point is: history abounds with 
parallels to this frontier situation. We've 
had centuries of artistic and poetic antici- 
pation. For the last 50 years, the written 
and visual media have been full of it. Space 
is on the brain; there is no denying it. After 
generations of farflung speculation and 
prophecy, the future has finally caught up 
with us. 

Now is the time to answer the question 
posed at the end of the 1930s movie. 
Things To Come: What shall it be? 

-by D.S. Black 



Q: What does NASA stand for? A: Need|« 
Another Seven Astronauts! I* 



GIMME SOME SPACE, MAN! 
Before the shuttle disaster, I felt as 
much a part of the space program as I do 
the superbowl. So I don't have any firm 
opinions about NASA, only soft insinu- 
ations. Like the rally behind Hitler and the 
violence of some sports, this incident 
answers different questions for many 
people. Personally, I used to wonder if the 
space program could be used for shooting 



the nuclear arsenal into space; now I no 
longer have any doubts. The only space 
program that I could support would be 
called something like the People's Space 
Program — the space right here on Earth. 
This program would study and develop 
ways to give everyone, not just the monied 
folks, more personal space, that is, all the 
things that fuzzy new age term implies — 
freedom, options in how we lead our lives, 
living conditions that foster spirited 
community while permitting "space" for 
refreshing solitude. 

— by PM Deliquance 



Q: What company tried to buy out NASA? 
A: Ocean Spray. 



HOLY EXPLODING SPACE 
SHUTTLES, BARTMAN!! 

Debate over the space shuttle has largely 
focused on its inefficiencies as a scientific 
instrument and on its military applications. 
What have largely been ignored are the 
psychological functions shuttle missions 
serve. 

The use of the shuttle as a satellite 
launching vehicle, although costly and 
wasteful, is useful to those in power in 
molding public consciousness. For this, it's 
essential that the shuttle be manned — it's 
difficult to identify with an unmanned 
machine, no matter how scientifically 
useful. And from the frightening, highly 
charged orgy of public emotion following 
the shuttle explosion, it's obvious that a 
great many people DO identify with the 
shuttle missions. 

The human tragedy of the seven 
individuals aboard the shuttle cannot in 
itself explain the public reaction to the ex- 
plosion. Approximately 40,000 people die 
on the nation's highways every year (over 
100 per day on average), yet most people 




PROCESSED WORLD #16 



accept this with a type of primitive fatal- 
ism. Even though the news media reinforce 
this acceptance by routinely reporting traf- 
fic fatalities as if they were acts of god 
(having nothing to do with transportation 
policies which deliberately foster depen- 
dence on the private automobile), one 
would still expect much more public con- 
cern about them — IF concern about the 
seven victims was the motivating factor 
behind the outburst of public emotion fol- 
lowing the shuttle accident. 

Similarly, one would expect much 
greater public reaction to the 14,000 annual 
deaths from U.S. industrial accidents and 
the approximately 100,000 annual deaths 
from industrial-related diseases. Yet these 
deaths are received with almost no public 
concern or even notice — perhaps, if 
anything, a paragraph on page 7E of the 
daily paper. Even in the case of true 
disasters such as Bhopal (2000 dead) and 
the Mexican LNG explosion (over 400 
dead) in November 1984, where the suffer- 
ing was far worse than that caused by the 
shuttle mishap, there was no similar 
outpouring of public emotion. 

We're left with the question of WHY 
people reacted so sharply to the shuttle 
accident, why so many people are so 
emotionally tied to the manned space 
program. 

The answers can be found in our daily 
lives. We feel lonely, powerless, isolated, 
bored. Look at the widespread abuse of 
addictive, destructive drugs like alcohol, 
tobacco, heroin and caffeine; columns upon 
columns of relationships ads in news- 
papers; the popularity of pornography (a 
depersonalized sex/intimacy substitute); 
the huge market for books which assure us 
that we're "OK," or, far worse, instruct us 
in how to "win" through fucking over 
other people (intimidating them, etc.); and 
the incredible number of people who have 
bought into organized religion as a way out 
of this "vale of tears." 

The media spectacle of the shuttle 
"disaster" certainly provided at least tem- 
porary relief from the despair of daily life. 
But media spectacles (often involving real 
people and events) abound, and none 
since the 1980 hostage "crisis" has pro- 
voked anything like the public reaction to 
the shuttle expjosion. Why? 

The sheer power, the sheer size of the 
shuttle and its booster rockets very prob- 
ably have a deep appeal to those who feel 
powerless and seek direction from more 
powerful others. And quite possibly, the 
shuttle appeals to people's repressed sex- 
uality (which in the minds of many seems 
to be equated with power). It might be 
significant that the cheer for the first 
female astronaut aboard this giant metallic 
dick was "Ride, Sally Ride!" 

More importantly, the shuttle and other 
manned missions provide an ersatz sense 
of community, relief from loneliness and 
isolation. Media coverage of the shuttle 



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explosion continually used terms like 
"us," "we," and "our." This was 
mystification of the most basic kind. In 
reality the vast majority of the members of 
this "community" (including, especially, 
those most responsible for the shuttle 
program and those using mystifying "we" 
rhetoric) are locked in a constant battle to 
dominate and rip each other off. 

This mystification is inextricably tied 
to political chauvinism. The mystified 
"we" (often called "America") is present- 
ed in the media and in political rhetoric as a 
community with common goals and 
values — and as being in competition with a 
malevolent "they," an "evil empire." The 
competitive dog-eat-dog nature of "our 
community" is not only masked, but our 
competitiveness and distrust are exploited 
by political manipulators. 

Many people unthinkingly accept this 
mystification and chauvinism and use 
"we" terminology in everyday conversa- 
tion. They consider the shuttle explosion 
"our" ("America's") "disaster" and feel 
it as a personal tragedy — despite the fact 
that the vast majority had no part in the 
decision to build the shuttle, had no part in 
designing or constructing it, and have 
absolutely no control over when, how, or 
for what it's used. The only role of the 
overwhelming majority of people in the 
shuttle program is as passive spectators 
(and, perhaps, victims of tax theft). That's 
some "we." 
— by Rubert Burley 



Q: Where did Christa McAuliffe take her 
last vacation? A: All over Florida! 



BRAKING STAR WARS. OR A NEW 
STANDARD OF PATRIOTISM? 

If the fireball that consumed Space 
Shuttle Challenger slows down the deve- 
lopment of Star Wars, the seven people 
that perished in it will not have died in 
vain. 

To millions of space enthusiasts, the 
Shuttle and the space program are tributes 
to curiosity, imagination, courage, and the 
quest for knowledge and adventure. These 
are among the worthy impulses of the 
human species. But what most space 
boosters don't see through the glitter of the 
stars (leaving aside the problem of how to 
divide the purse between cross-town buses 
and interplanetary travel) is how these 
impulses are being used and perverted. 

Whatever its origins, there can be no 
doubt about what master the Shuttle now 
serves. Starting in 1987, the Pentagon had 
planned to use half of the spacecraft's 
cargo bay at least twice a year for Star 
Wars experiments alone. It had claimed a 
third of the available shuttle launches over 
the next ten years. Under the National 
Space Policy adopted by Reagan, the 
Pentagon is not only NASA's largest 
customer, but also its preferred customer, 
and as such is entitled to bump civilian, 
commercial, and scientific payloads off 
Shuttle flights. 

For a short time, the suspension of 
Shuttle missions and the loss of one of the 
four orbiters will slow the military's 
invasion of space. But before long, the 
space arms race will be back in harmony 
with the spheres. The scientific and 
commercial aspects of the space program 
will probably come out the losers, with 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



NASA dancing to the Pentagon's tune even 
more slavishly than before. 

A month after the explosion, some of the 
astronauts voiced dissatisfactions with 
NASA safety procedures and secrecy. It's 
too soon to tell whether their criticisms will 
crack the unnerving unanimity of popular 
support for more space spectaculars. 

Remarkably, instead of planting doubts 
about the reliability of complex technolo- 
gies and the push into space, the destruc- 
tion of the Challenger seems to have 
convinced most Americans that no sacrifice 
is too great for the technology that will 
conquer the stars. NASA reports it 
received 90,000 letters in the two weeks 
following the explosion, 99% of them 
supporting the space program. "Some- 
thing like this brings the nation together," 
said Daniel Boorstin in the New York 
Times. "The space program in general has 
done that; people understand the grandeur 
even if not the technology, and to share 
that grandeur is what makes a great 
nation." Boorstin is right: the majestic 
lift-off of a rocket with human beings 
perched atop it raises modern Americans 
out of their everyday lives into an epiphany 
of technological awe intertwined with 
chauvinistic pride. 

The Shuttle catastrophe has constructed 
a new standard of patriotism: giving your 
life for your country's technology. Instead 
of making it acceptable to question the 
military takeover of space, the Shuttle 
disaster may make the space program 
more sacred than ever. If the explosion of 
the Challenger and the seven dead 
astronauts have transformed protest 
against Star Wars into heresy, it was more 
of a tragedy than we've yet realized. 

— Marci/ Darnovskx; 




I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY 

BONDS OF EARTH 

[or at least good taste] 

NASA? National Association of Sacri- 
ficed Astronauts. 

Almost as long as I can remember there 
has been space flight. We got our first TV 
about the time of Glenn's trip, and I've 
grooved on the idea since then. I was (and 
perhaps still am) pro-space in the sense 
that I felt that we can learn a lot about the 
universe and our planet, and perhaps even 
about ourselves. 

The US space program grew up hand in 
hand with modern war technology. From 
the need for microelectronics (because the 
Soviet Union captured more German^ V2 
equipment and scientists, and so was at 
first able to launch greater loads), to the 
fear of the Sputnik and what it represent- 
ed, the space program has been a political 







1.111,111! 



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and military creature. Under Pres. John F. 
Kennedy the race to put a man on the moon 
was proposed as an addition to a military 
race. We would still compete with the 
Soviets, but for prestige — and perhaps a 
few spinoffs. There are weather and track- 
ing satellites which give warning of 
hurricanes and floods, and which can guide 
rescuers to shipwreck victims. There are 
terrestrial mapping satellites which let us 
better understand land use, our history (by 
helping archaelogists) and the oceans. 
There are other probes which bring us 
knowledge of the solar system, and 
pictures of the dim heat of galaxies. And 
with each and every one of these the 
military picked up a lot of hardware as well 
as valuable knowledge (e.g., physics and 
chemistry, metallurgy, radar and optical 
tracking, etc.). They also get good 
photographs and SIGINT data, as well as 
knowing storm patterns. They track 
submarines (and surface ships) and the 
infrared photos let them see — and follow — 
machines in the dark. With the advances in 
geology and knowledge of crop patterns, 
business as well as governments, get a 
great communications system and better 
field maps for prospecting, and so on. The 
recon satellites can track "Soviet crates," 
as in Nicaragua last year, or help Exxon 
plan another rip-off. The early warning 
satellites that help maintain a certain calm 
by reassuring our respective masters that 
the enemy has not yet launched its missiles 
have counterparts that make a major war 
not only thinkable, but possible. 

Of course, you can do all of this without 
ever sending a human into space; it can be 
done by machine quite well. But there is 
one thing that a machine cannot do for 
you — and that is give the country's 
populace someone to identify with. Call it 
by any other name; we are still talking 
about public relations: advertising. 

Now let's look at the 72-odd seconds of 
the last flight of the late space shuttle 



Challenger. Most of the bugs are worked 
out. . .Of course the Air Force still needs 
the shuttle (although they currently have 
money to buy the older type rockets). The 
star wars (SDI) types take a few pictures 
along the way, and they may build a 
laboratory out there. Chemistry and 
biological experiments, perhaps allowing 
Gene Splicing Mad Scientists Inc. to deve- 
lop a frostless lifeform, or the Pentagon to 
devise a lifeless form of frosted Earth with 
its bio-war experiments. And we may get 
some cheap computer parts out of it. And 
won't that really liven up your life!? 

Oh yes, and they will shoot some other 
hapless civilian (female and reasonably 
pretty, of correct Republican character of 
course) into space. These too may get 
NASA's version of burial at sea, or the old 
PR act may come off better this time. This, 
the need to sell youngsters — and voters — 
on space (not just on space, mind you, but 
on the Pentagon's version, since that is all 
there is to choose from) was the 
Challenger's mission. It is to reassure the 
people about the supremacy of our 
technology, our standing in the world, and 
our way of life. 

And that may be the ultimate damage to 
the space program — they intended to 
demonstrate how totally reliable/under 
control/planned the whole affair of com- 
puters and explosive fuels had become. No 
mishaps, no embarassments, except 
perhaps a missed launch date (like missing 
a lunch date but more costly)— everything 
is clean and sanitary. Ms. McAuliffe, in 
video ghost, saying that it is completely 
safe. Gosh lady, did you really believe 
that? They sold you on it that well? 
No. . .you couldn't have been that naive, 
could you? I'll never know. 

And if we keep our childish faith in the 
goodness and trustworthiness of technol- 
ogy, and how safe and wonderful the future 
will be because of it, and in bur 
leaders — who are almost never wrong — we 
will see a giant and final enactment of our 
national anthem: 

The rocket's red glare, 

The bombs bursting in air, 

Gave proof through the night 

That our faith was still there. 
The rockets, or missiles, correctly speak- 
ing, will burst — rather than just the 
shuttle — and we will go with the rapidly 
expanding clouds of incandescent gas. 
Similar to the crew of the Challenger, ex- 
cept that we aren't volunteers of soldiers, 
and we don't get this great body rush first. 

Ah, hell. They're Americans. Put an 
advertising budget on it and they'll believe 
in anything. Maybe there will some neat 
color footage at 11:00. 

— b^! Primitivo Morales 



Q: What color were Christa McAuliffe's 
eyes? A: Blue — one 'blue' this way, one 
'blue' that way! 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 




Dear P.W., 

Recently at work I had the unfortunate 
experience of having to attend an 
'ergonomics' seminar. 'Data health' was 
the appropriate name for this hucksterism 
that only a manager could love. Un- 
believable as it may sound, sitting through 
four hours of this indignity even made the 
routine drudgery of work attractive. Not 
even the sight of all the Dept. heads gomg 
through their paces was worth it. I'll spare 
you a critique uncovering the real meaning 
of this kind of very expensive ritual. It is 
absolutely too obvious to anyone whose IQ 
is high enough to make them ineligible for 
top management or success in the business 
world; i.e. somewhere between a stone and 
a blade of grass. Instead I'm sending the 
connections I made in the handbook that 
was distributed in the seminar. Coloring in 
the lines was the only thing that kept many 
of us in the back rows from literally 
toppling out of our chairs, or losing our 
jobs by strangling the commissars of good 
cheer directing the whole show, while that 
damn tyrant, the clock, made its intermin- 
able rounds. 

Yours, 
another abstract quantity of the labor force 




AN ERGONOMIC WOOK STATION NPROPERLV USED 



With our last mailing we also sent out a 
questionnaire which over 50 people tooli 
the time to fill out and send back. Here are 
some of the more interesting answers... 

On the larger format: 35 liked it better, 4 
thought it worse, 7 were indifferent... 



What Do You Like Best in PW? 27 

circled "Analysis & Essays", 22 circled 
"Tales of Toil", 22 "Graphics", 5 
"Fiction" and 1 "Poetry"... Other: The 
spirit, the life-blood, the bad attitude; 
more letters from readers, please; all; 
fiction last, probably; any chance Bad Girl 
could make a return appearance?; the mix 
of all; you have a great spirit of creativity 
and rebellion; letters and exchanges are 
good; cartoons are good, too; descriptions 
of work life; dedication; everything (except 
bitchy, useless letters)... 
What do you think we should get rid of or 
at least de-emphasize?... Nix; Marxist 
bullshit; 4 said Poetry; some articles seem 
whiney and gripey, would like to see more 
coherence; whiney articles about how 
boring and alienating it all is; overly 
wordy, analytical articles that give me a 
headache; purple ink; the BAD colors; 
Long-winded letters to the editor; nothing 
— do not go into de-acquisitions; 7 others 
said "nothing"; non-info/ computer stuff 
like bike messengers or laundry workers; 
de-emphasize new wave/trendy art forms, 
de-emphasize colored text; the weird color 
changes in the text (picky, picky!); I find it 
hard to read multi-colored pages... 
HAVE YOU WORKED IN AN OFFICE, 
AND IF SO, HOW LONG? DO YOU 
HANDLE INFORMATION FOR MONEY? 
Nope, I'm phunctionally illiterate; Yes, for 
3 years; Retail sales (which believe me is 
just as bad); Yes, off and on for 12 years; 
School janitor for nearly 9 years. My wife 
does office, though not right now; As a 
secretary, as a dean, now as a faculty 
member; I am an "information specialist" 
or librarian, so yes; Have worked in office, 
no low flush and compost toilets; Never — I 
am a machinist who worked in a factory 
where the radios were recently banned for 
being too noisy; Yes, five years; 6 said 
"No"; Yes, too long! (Temp, off and on) 
NOT ANY MORE! ! ; 1 teach future cyborgs; 
Yes, I'm a reporter on Chicago Sun-Times; 
Years, yes, though I prefer to handle 
money for information; Done the temp 
scene off and on for years; Years ago, for a 
few years; six years in offices; three years 
office work. My job title: Management 
Information Systems Tech; Am college 
professor, geography, age 63; used to; who 
doesn't?; yes, but many years ago, for 5 
months, then was fired by my psychopathic 
boss; 17 years, yes; No, sporadic farmwork 
and the like; never worked in an office, but 



handled info in a copy shop for about 5 
years. Now I work in a food coop; about 5 
years, I handle money for money; Yes, one 
year, I word process at the whim of a 
manager; yes... scientific programmer, 
medical electronics patient data; yes 
yes — work at home now handling informa- 
tion for money; 15 years clerical worker; I 
work at home as a computer programmer; 
No way; Off and on for ten years. Yes'm... 




Dear PW, 

I just finished reading issues 12-15. I 
wish I had known about PW a long time 
ago, for example, when I started working 
after high school as a Reservation Sales 
Agent for Howard Johnson's National 
Center here in the thriving metropolis of 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I learned about 
the horrors of CRT work, and coming back 
the summer after I read Marx, wanted to 
organize my fellow workers, unaware that 
other people with similar shitty jobs were 
thinking along the same lines. It's such a 
scam — people call in a lot of motel reser- 
vations for their summer vacations, so 
there's plenty of jobs in the summer, for 
college students who can't get a regular 
job. For the few people stuck there 
year-round, dreams of a Disneyworld 
get-away make it all somehow bearable. 
Incidentally, I still find this need for escape 
prevalent in my new job in social work, 
which would seem to be something people 
would do because they want to. 

Of course, there is nothing as night- 
marish as doing high-speed data entry. I 
did it for nine months for Time, Inc. in 
Chicago, and thank God, at least they paid 
for my membership to a HMO, where I was 
able to see a shrink free. I remember 
walking into the room at 7:59 every 
morning (the three times I was late almost 
got me fired), staring at the tubes with 



PROCESSED WORLD 116 



dread, fluorescent glare on the white 
plastic units lined up like vertebrae in the 
computer/brain's spine, the wires waiting 
for input into the spinal cord. I think 
reading Zippy comics helped me as much 
as the shrink. 

Now the irony of the situation makes me 
laugh. I sit here at the Macintosh, unable 
lo live with or without technology. At any 
rate, keep up the good work. 

Sincerely, 
K.R. -Oklahoma City, OK 

Dear Processed World: 

Lookit — you guys pretend to have special 
knowledge about... things, and that leads 
to. ..action, no? well, godammit, OK 
then — let's fuckin' adopt the ideology of 
SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE AS PROPEL 
LANT. 

PW is either a handbook for the 
formation of small elitist cabals who 
publish an anti-authoritarian line, i.e., self 
replication, or it operates as a front for a 
hidden agenda program, implies some- 
thing larger than it actually IS. WHAT IS 
YOUR PROGRAM? 



In absence of any stated agenda, the 
analytical reader is forced to provide same 
in the form of speculation, and I ain't talkin 
grain cartels, or media cartels, or health 
cartels or publishing cartels. The analytic 
reader if he be a RADICAL CENTRIST! ! I ? 
Might conclude the following: 

a) PW is anti-technology irrespective of 
the racist/genocidalist implications of 
science-based large scale agriculture and 
3rd world starvation resulting from its 
absence, for example... 

b) PW is pro-Soviet — m the absence of 
similar agitation by similar circles inside 
the Soviet Union, your agenda clearly, 
obviously and unmistakably serves Soviet 
strategic considerations. You think Soviet 
socialism is less malevolent than industrial 
capitalism? [ed. —certainly not!] POL POTl 
kapooie! 

c) PW is a psychological warfare 
operation corrupted by the necessity to 
create a constituency from a particular 
class of workers whose misery and exploi- 
tation amounts to little more than BORE- 
DOM, or at worst, ALIENATION. My great 
grandfather, a 9-fingered bolshevik who 
passed political education & position 
papers out to Irkutsk coal miners in -30° 



weather finds this... amusing. 

d) PW essentially is petit bourgeois in 
nature. Your sectarianism borderlines 
ritual. You seek converts. You are 
fundamentalists. 

Why pretend to inform when you can 
UNMASK!! It's no fuckin secret that the 
public mind is manipulated beyond belief, 
big deal, you don't think Chief Joseph's 
shaman didn't he to the Nez Perce? Oh, 
grow up. Me, I wanna kill nazis, and really 
only the ones who MAKE POLICY, the 
ones above suspicion, but I wanna be sure I 
don't kill anyone BUT the ones that really 
EXEMPLIFY BEASTLINESS, so I'm gonna 
study real hard about D*E*C*E*P*- 
T*I*0*N. Six million jews were either 
deceived or STUPID and I'd rather think 
the first one. So I hate STUPIDITY. So first 
of all I don't want to shoot my foot off. 
Second of all I don't want to shoot my boss 
merely because he is a member of the 
class: BOSSES, as the nazis did to the 
class: JEWS, as the Turks did to the class: 
ARMENIANS, the British to the class: 
IRISH, the Nominalists did to the class: 
ANALYSTS. Class warfare my ass. 

Lookit, jiist read this info, vomit & 
decide what is to be done. 

I hate the work and I ain't fuckin doin it. 

Yer pal, 
Walter A. -SF 




PROCESSED WORLD «15 



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pretty much covered it al 
More Matt Groening! 



E.W.-NYC 



Dear Processed World, 

I just finished reading #15, and as usual, 
an excellent job of conveying the Catch-22 
mind-frame into which Corporate (and 
sometimes just plain Working) America 
puts so many of us. Specifically, I 
appreciated the "Skeleton" ballad by 
Harvey Stein, "Montgomery Street Mor- 
ning" by Steve Koppman, and "Road 
Warriors/ Worriers" by Brooklyn's own 
Bob McGlynn (yay Bob!). 

I do, however, believe not enough praise 
is ever given for your graphics and 
illustrations, and these artists are to be 
commended for the most part. The only art 
that seemed a little out-of-place, consider- 
ing it had nothing to do (on the surface, or 
at least to me) with the subject matter, was 
Lucius Cabins' collage work on "Remem- 
brance of Temp Past," but then, I have a 
tendency to take a negative stand on most 
nude art I see as gratuitous. What 
bothered me more than that work was 
Lance Mitchell's totally uncalled-for "bike 
messenger mama," or whatever you want 



-A.L.-NYC 

to call the comic-book-boobed bimbo on 
page 34. Especially after Bob McGlynn, in 
the article, mentioned that the world of the 
bike messenger is "almost exclusively 
male. " Doubly bad taste, in my book (and 
yes, I'm aware my book is not everyone's 
kind of reading, but I do think in this case 
a picture like that does about as much for 
the credibility of PW or the article it 
accompanies as the swimsuit issue does for 
Sports Illustrated). 

My absolute favorite thing in your entire 
issue was Kathleen Hulser's truly out- 
standing semi-poetic work "925 Crawl." 
This is the first piece I've read in PW that, 
for me, captures the whole emotional 
atmosphere of what so many robots-in- 
training have to endure daily. (And I 
suppose it didn't hurt that her piece was 
centered in New York, the work milieu with 
which I'm most familiar.) 

While I'm looking forward to hearing 
what other people have to say about your 
discussion on AIDS, it looks like you've 



Dear A. L. & E.W., 

Thanks for writing. I like when people 
have the guts to say "THIS SUCKS!" I can 
sympathize as to how it feels when a 
publication you respect suddenly does 
something which defies your own sense of 
appropriateness. It hurts. 

I'm the layout artist who did the "Road 
Warriors" spread, and chose the graphics 
for it. Faced with a shortage of potential 
illustrations for that article, I solicited 
graphics from bike messengers here in San 
Francisco. While I can see the charges of 
sexism: that this particular image plays 
into certain idealized fantasies of women's 
body images that appeal to men {i.e., most 
women don't have that kind of figure 
without trying to starve themselves or 
using silicone treatments, etc.), I chose the 
image because it conveys an impression of 
raw vigor and strength, and I wanted to 
give that impression to the article at first 
glance; that women as well as men are real 
life urban "road warriors" — which is true. 
So I don't apologize for my choice of 
graphics. I agree with you that the sexist 
element in this graphic is all too typical, 
but I don't in this case think it justifies 
purging an otherwise very compelling 
image. I don't see feminism as monolithic 
in its definition of the world, and I disagree 
with you over the issue of "appropriate- 
ness." The monster social structure that 
stifles us is built on accepted notions of 
"appropriate behavior," and I believe in 
being "inappropriate" whenever possible. 
(By the way, how "appropriate" is your 
use of the word "RETARDO"? I have 
worked with retarded people, and they are 
not that easily categorized. I find your 
usage of the word insulting. ) 

Your point about the absence of male 
nudity in P. W. is well taken. I think one 
reason why female nudity pushes buttons 
is because the general scope of acceptable 
body images in media is appallingly 
narrow. I believe it's crucial to open up the 
field of what's acceptable, instead of 
simply closeting all questionable imagery. 
"It's not what you do, but how you do it. " 
So not only do I find Lucius Cabins' 
collages using naked figures tasteful, but I 
wouldn't mind seeing an occasional penis 
in these pages either. 

— Zoe Noe 
PS. Not all feminists have a problem with 
sexual imagery... One example is the 
Feminist Anti-Ceusorship Taskforce. 

FACT, PO Bnx 4361, SF, CA 94110. 






10 



PROCESSED WORLD «16 



Dear Processed World, 

I am writing in response to the back 
cover of PW #15 about Virginia Stings. Yes 
Virginia, there is a sting. I once met some- 
body who had a sting operation! —but you 
know about the birds and the bees! 

Our subject today is smoking. Isn't that 
what all the stink's about? What is 
smoking, really? Maybe we should ask 
Smoky Robinson. Let's put on our Smoking 
Jackets and think about it. 

Smoke was discovered long ago, as a 
byproduct of fire. Industrious cave people 
recognized there was a market for the 
stuff, and out of that came smoke signals 
(forerunner to the telephone) and also 
musical inspiration; "Smoke gets in your 
eyes." Smoke was there when Nero 
fiddled, and we use it today in BBQ sauce 
and many other delicious foods. 

Bui really, smoking cigarettes is a 
serious subject, and a serious object too, of 
concern to many people. Drug use will not 
cease until we have ceased using drugs. 
Looking for alternative methods is probab- 
ly our best hope. "Better Smoking for 
Better Living! " 

At work, be the Politest Person on the 
Planet by volunteering to leave your desk 
to smoke. Smoke often and smoke well — 
it's your habit! Let's get smoking back in 
the home where it belongs. Suck on that 
baby! Teach em while they're young, so 
they'll smoke right — you wouldn't want 
your kids to pick that up on the streets! 

Remember the words of the Wise Man 
Tobaccus on his solitary journey to con- 
sciousness: "Once I felt sorry for myself 
because I had no cigarettes. Then I met a 
man who smoked salmon! " 

Love, 
Linda 



_:: — ~J 




Dear Processed World, 

DEEPEST THANKS for that great issue, 
the first I've ever really had a chance to 
read. As per your questionnaire: I saw my 

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first copy in New York City, some time ago. 
I was in a hurry and didn't buy it. Plus the 
fact that at the time I had never worked in 
an electronic office, as I have since, and 
realized that whatever y'll were doing was 
brilliant and valuable, but touched on a lot 
of things outside my personal experience. 
On the strength of one issue, I can hardly 
comment on changes in format, or your 
strengths and weaknesses (even for one 
person's point of view), but I will certainly 
circulate this issue as widely as possible 
and try to scrape up money for a sub- 
scription. I just lost my job (political/per- 
sonal differences) in the newsroom of a 
local newspaper, where I had gone to 
scrape together enough money to be able 
to finish a dissertation and pursue a little of 
my own work. (I'm your standard 
blue-collar-origins, 60s scholarship educa- 
tion, unrepentent radical type.) Processed 
World obviously has the number of what I 
was doing there — scut keyboard labor — 
although the newsroom "middle strata" 



types weren't exactly open to the idea that 
their job had been proletarianized. They 
saw a big difference between themselves 
and the bluer collar crews in the composing 
and press rooms, to the point of being 
unwilling to be in the same union with the 
latter. And here I'm talking about people 
who were willing to consider the idea of an 
organized newsroom at all. For someone 
like me, it was pretty bizarre — a clinging to 
an imaginary gentility, to being a "pro- 
fessional" to the last ditch rather than have 
anyone mistake you for a worker. But then, 
with Reagan riding so high, it's me who's 
the fool, obviously. 

Besides this office, I've also done 
straight data-entry for various places 
around DC, and also worked in other pre- 
electronic offices in years past. 

This is my hometown, and there are still 
a ragged platoon's worth of people here in 
conscious opposition. 

SOLIDARITY II 11 
S.B.— Hagerstown, MD 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



11 




r^^\ t is impossible for ordinary people today to 
\^| control, or even to find out, what is known about 
w«^ them. Not only do dozens of government agencies 
maintain files on us, but each time we buy a book, pay a 
tax, or phone a friend, records of our transaction are 
created and filed. Most people consider such records, if 
they consider them at all, as simply the price of modern 
convenience. Yet when the size, sophistication and 
number of today's databases are taken into account, 
together with their increasing interconnection and use, it 
may not be entirely paranoid to wonder if something 
other than convenience has come to be at stake. 

Private credit agencies like TRW and Equifax aggregate 
individual transaction records into more than 150 million 
dossiers, each of which typically contains a full name, social 
security number, address, telephone #, name of spouse, 
workplace, salary, other income, credit grantors, payment 
history, arrest and conviction records, bankruptcies, tax liens 
and lawsuits. The data in these dossiers is often inaccurate. It 
is commonly collected by low-wage investigators expected by 
iheir supervisors to find dirt and find it fast. But once 
collected, it is bought and sold millions of times each day, 
linked with other data by the techniques of "computer 
matching," and even — like any other property — disposed of in 
bankruptcy proceedings. The Washington-based Privacy 
Journal (PO Box 15300, Wash. DC 20003) recently quoted 
Richard D.C. Whilden, the head of TRW's huge Information 
Services Division, as saying that TRW is actively looking for 
"new ways to package and sell the information" in its gigantic 
databases. 

We are still in the early years of the computer age. The 
computerization of the home— via cable TV, microcomputers 



and other two-way interactive systems — will make possible the 
construction of "master profiles" so detailed as to make the 
data-scavenging of today's credit bureaus seem like nursery 
school games 

Yet the government, concerned primarily with its own vul- 
nerability to electronic eavesdropping, does little to protect the 
mdividual. The Reagan administration, in fact, has worked 
hard to expand the government's power to use techniques such 
as computer matching between formerly disjoint databases. 
The administration's justification is that with such techniques, 
the government can eliminate welfare cheaters and other hate 
objects of overtaxed society. There's a dispute about the 
efficacy of such techniques, with some experts claiming that 
they cost a good deal more to administer than they can save. 
But one thing is relatively clear: computer matching clears the 
way, culturally and legally, for the consolidation of what is 
called by some the "dossier society." The trend is visible in a 
recent Australian attempt to institute national identity cards, 
an attempt that — ominously — originated with tax-reformers 
who wanted to use the cards to assure compliance with tax laws. 

National identity cards are still unusual in the West 
(although West Germany has recently adopted such cards) but 
computer-aggregated information, tied together by names, 
social security numbers, driver's license numbers and other 
personal identifiers, is fast becoming a functional equivalent. 
Richard Vasserstrom, a philosophy professor at UC Santa Cruz, 
has strikingly captured the threat of the dossier society that 
universal recordkeeping threatens to construct: "Every trans- 
action in which one engages would... take on an additional 
significance. In such a society one would be both buying a tank 
of gas and leaving part of a systematic record of where one was 
at on a particular day . . . We would go through life encumbered 
by a wariness and deliberateness that would make it less easy 
to live what we take to be the life of a free person." 

In the face of such developments, it's dangerous to over- 
emphasize technology. The forces driving the expanding col- 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



lection, refinement and exchange of 
dossier information originate directly in 
the culture and economy of bureaucratic 
capitalism. Nevertheless, the computer 
has undeniably multiplied the power of 
the information collectors. In the past, 
even the most eager of them was 
constrained by the clumsiness and 
inflexibility of paper recordkeeping. 
Today, with computerized files, that 
clumsiness is disappearing. 

LAW? WHAT LAW?!? 

Most privacy advocates look only to 
the law for protection, and are quick to 
dismiss hope for technological safe- 
guards as dangerous fetishism. But the 
law IS lagging behind the new conditions 
of life. One recent book. The High Cost 
of High Tech, claims that "technology 
has rendered the Fourth Amendment 
[the right to protection from search and 
seizure] obsolete." Moreover, the power 
of the law, even when it's kept up to 
date, is vastly exaggerated. Laws as 
much as technologies are embodiments 
of large social purposes, and they can 
just as easily be pushed aside when 
those purposes change. 

Consider wiretapping, the oldest form 
of electronic spying. David Burnham, 
author of The Rise of the Computer 
State, reports that, at the present time, 
wiretaps are far rarer than most of us 
imagine. However, he goes on to argue 
that while this is in part due to legal 
strictures against taps, the more impor- 
tant deterrent is that they "cost too 
much money" and consume an enor- 
mous amount of time for each meaning- 
ful fragment of useful intelligence they 
yield. In Burnham's mind, "the ex- 
tremely low cost of labor in countries 
such as Russia and India is a major 
reason why the governments of these two 
countries can afford to eavesdrop on a 
huge number of telephone lines." 

This is a critical assertion, for 
advanced pattern recognition technolo- 
gies have made automated wire-tapping 
potentially routine. As a result, com- 
puters can automatically screen calls — 
and notify human agents only upon 
encountering words on present search 
lists. Such technology will soon diffuse 
throughout society, and when it does, 
the economics of eavesdropping may 
change radically. 

And that's just wiretapping. Accor- 
ding to the FBI's Assistant Director of 
Technical Services William A. Bayse, 
the bureau has embarked on ambitious 
modernization plans that include the use 
of "artificial intelligence" to search for 
"patterns" in its massive databases. 
The artificial intelligence field is thick 
with hype (See "Mindgames" in PW 
#13), but tasks like this can probably be 



formalized well enough to enable their 
successful automation. The FBI's system 
will eventually work, and when it does 
it's not hard to imagine its future. Why 
shouldn't FBI software drones be 
allowed to search commercial databases, 
or phone company and bank records? A 
long chain of legal decisions has sharply 
limited the individual's rights with 
regard to such records. Automation will 
make such searches relatively cheap 
and — from the perspective of law 
enforcement managers — entirely ra- 
tional. 

While the government has (to put it 
mildly) little interest in protecting the 
privacy of its citizens, it has every 
interest in protecting its own and that of 
the giant corporations it does business 
with. Enter the technology of data 
encryption . 

Encryption, despite its forbidding 



name and monumental technical com- 
plexity, is simple in purpose — a means 
by which data can be scrambled into 
incomprehensible patterns, to be un- 
scrambled only for those who can 
present the proper numerical "key." 
Encryption seals the envelopes of the 
electronic age. The National Security 
Agency, ten times larger than the CIA 
and ten times more secret, insists that 
only its official "envelopes" be used. 

Last year, partly in response to 
NSDD-145, a National Security Direc- 
tive, the NSA began the Commercial 
Communications Security Endorsement 
Program. This is an effort to strengthen 
the anti-eavesdropping protections built 
into private and corporate communi- 
cations systems. At the surface this 
initiative, in which America's most 
powerful and most secret intelligence 
agency goes into the private security 



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PROCESSED WORLD «16 



13 



business, is only peculiar. Below the 
surface it becomes actively suspect. 

As an aspect of the new program, the 
NSA is establishing an industrial consor- 
tium to produce pre-sealed, tamper- 
resistant encryption chips. Even more 
secret than the codes they're slated to 
replace, NSA's new black-box chips will 
be extremely classified. Only a small 
circle of designers will know their inner 
workings, and engineers incorporating 
them into new data communications 
devices will be doing so blindly, without 
knowing how they work. Strange com- 
modities these, but ones that will never- 
theless find a market. The NSA is 
advisor to the National Bureau of Stan- 
dards on cryptologic matters, and it 
plans to see its new chips become the 
only generally approved means of 
encoding sensitive civilian and quasi- 
governmental transactions. 

To put these developments in context, 
it's useful to look back at the origins of 
the system the NSA now wants to 
replace with its black box. 

In 1973, when the National Bureau of 
Standards first put out a call for the 
development of an encryption system 
good enough to serve as a national 
standard, IBM won hands down. Its 
Lucifer system was already in the final 
stages of development, and was, by all 
reports, very good. In fact, it was so 
good that it upset the NSA, which had 
considered itself comfortably ahead of 
the rest of the world in the still arcane art 
of cryptography. The NSA eventually 
managed to get its own shortened and 
otherwise altered version of the system 
adopted as the Data Encryption Stan- 
dard (DES). 

DES, as it was eventually adopted, 
was essentially identical to Lucifer but 
with a few crucial differences. Some- 
where in the negotiations between the 
NSA and IBM, the cipher had been 
seriously weakened by reducing its key 
size from 128 to 56 bits. (A "bit" is the 
simplest unit of information in a digital 
computer: in essence, a switch that is 
either on or off.) According to David 
Kahn, author of The Code Breakers and 
a noted historian of cryptography, 
Lucifer had set off a debate within the 
NSA. "The codebreaking side wanted to 
make sure that the cipher was weak 
enough for the NSA to solve when used 
by foreign nations and companies," he 
explained in the fall 1979 issue of 
Foreign Affairs. "The codemaking 
side," on the other hand, "wanted any 
cipher it was certifying for use by 
Americans to be truly good." According 
to .xahn, the resulting "bureaucratic 
coifipromise" included the weakened 
key. 

To appreciate the significance of the 
72 dropped bits, consider that there are 



essentially three ways to break a cipher. 
You can make a "brute force" attack in 
which you try all possible keys in an 
exhaustive search; you can exploit struc- 
tures m whatever mathematical func- 
tions form the basis of that system; or 
you can sneak in through a "trapdoor" 
lor "Trojan Horse") that's been deli- 
berately built for just such a purpose. 
Assume for a moment that you've 
neither a trapdoor nor any line of crypto- 
an.ilylic attack. In that case, the 
ditliculty of breaking a cipher increases 
exponentially with the key length. Hence 
ihe shortened key length of DES 
weakened it enormously. 

The adoption of DES in 1977 provoked 
a fiercely acrimonious controversy in the 
pages of journals like Cryptologia and 
Science. The dispute was far from 
merely technical; a number of prominent 
cryptologists accused the NSA of doc- 
toring DES to make it transparent to the 



agency's eavesdroppers. At the height of 
the DES controversy, a classified Senate 
committee investigation concluded — in a 
one page declassified summary — that 
DES was "adequately secure for the 
purpose for which it was intended." 
However, note that it is a crime equiva- 
lent to espionage to use only DES 
hardware (as opposed to the more cum- 
bersome, but more secure, systems used 
to protect top-secret governmental com- 
munications) for the "cryptographic 
protection of computer data that is 
classified according to the National 
Security Act of 1947, or the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954." (Federal Register, 
Vol. 40, #149.) 

During the 1977 debate, NSA's critics 
argued that by keeping crucial parts of 
DES's design secret, the NSA may be 
concealing a trapdoor by which it could 
instantly decrypt any DES-protected 
data. Despite persistent rumors, such a 




14 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



trapdoor has never been reported. 

But trapdoors can be impossible to 
find without doing computations at least 
as exhaustive as those necessary to 
mount a successful brute force attack. 
Since such computations are typically 
unfeasible with today's computers, even 
with ciphers like DES, eight years of 
failure prove nothing. DES is still under 
mvestigation at Bell Labs, The Catholic 
University in Leuven, Belgium, and at 
the Center for Mathematics and Com- 
puter Science in Amsterdam; trust 
comes hard in this business. Eventually, 
however, the controversy subsided. 
YOU MUST TRUST US, 
WE ARE ALL GOOD BOY SCOUTS 

(an IBM spokesman in the 
1977 DES debate) 

It was late in 1985 that the NSA 
suddenly and gracelessly abandoned 
DES. in an assertion which directly 



contradicts years of reassurances, Wal- 
ter Dealey, then NSA's Deputy Director 
for Communications Security, told 
Science magazine that he "wouldn't bet 
a plugged nickel on the Soviet Union not 
breaking [DES]." According to Barton 
O'Brien, Sales Manager for the Silicon 
Valley-based firm RSA Data Security, 
"people in the industry feel betrayed, 
and wonder why [sic] the NSA won't do 
it again." 

To add insult to injury, DES will be 
superseded not by a secure yet publicly- 
documented system open to independent 
evaluation — a good definition of a 
"modern" Cryptosystem — but by a 
classified black box The NSA's actions 
have thus gone beyond being suspicious 
to being "ridiculous, absolutely embar- 
rassing," to quote one computer scien- 
tist. 

The NSA, Britain's GCHQ (Govern- 
ment Communications Headquarters), 




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and the Soviet KGB all have plenty of 
motivation for hawking flawed ciphers. 
Quite simply, if you know the way in, you 
can read all the buyer's coded communi- 
cations at will. Britain did this after 
World War II by remarketing to other 
nations a captured German coding 
machine, the ENIGMA, which it had 
cracked during the war. The NSA is 
known to have tried to spy on NATO 
allies in this way in the 1950's, via 
contacts with the Swiss coding-machine 
company that sold to these countries. 

There seem to be three possible 
explanations for NSA's abandonment of 
DES for its new ciphers. The first is 
simple enough. The NSA has long been 
lying; there is a trapdoor in DES and the 
Russians have found it. In the second we 
presume just the opposite, that the NSA 
has been telling the truth, and DES 
contains no trapdoor; but then we 
imagine that the NSA has come to regret 
its restraint. In this scenario, the NSA is 
replacing DES with a new coding system 
precisely because, unlike DES, it reaWy 
IS booby-trapped. In the third, we 
postulate that somehow perhaps through 
advances in computers or math theory, 
the Russians (or whoever) have broken 
DES. In that case, there seems to be no 
reason not to strengthen the system, 
perhaps by going back to IBM's original 
design, unless there are legitimate 
(classified) flaws in its basic structure. 
This does not explain, however, why the 
NSA would then want a new system that 
is not documented. Suspicion is appro- 
priate, since the pre-sealed, tamper- 
resistant form of the new codes is made 
to order for hiding trapdoors. Herb 
Bright, an officer of the private data- 
security firm Computation Planning 
Associates and a member of the 
American National Standards Institute/ 
American Bankers Association commit- 
tee that is evaluating the NSA's new 
codes, put it this way: "With a hardware 
black box you can describe several 
schemes that would be almost impos- 
sible to test for from the outside that 
could, in effect, constitute a hardware 
Trojan Horse capability that I find a little 
disturbing... if you don't know what's in 
the black box, in detail, I think it's 
physically and mathematically impos- 
sible to prove [that a trapdoor isn't 
there] from the outside." 

MODERN CRYPTOGRAPHY 

Eight years ago the NSA, pursuing its 
goals with the singlemindedness typical 
ol a massive bureaucracy, tried to 
classify all cryptologic research in the 
US. It failed for an interesting reason- 
namely, that a great deal of abstract 
mathematical research can be viewed as 
research in cryptography. Mathema- 
ticians working with no thought as to 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



15 



coding systems can, and do, find them- 
selves in areas that have significant 
cryptologic implications. 

Cryptology, then, has inevitably gone 
public; its technologies and techniques 
are widely available, and as a conse- 
quence, virtually all nations have 
secured their high-level dispatches 
behind ciphers breakable only with the 
greatest effort — or good luck. Intelli- 
gence agencies have been reduced to 
traffic analysis (studying the movement 
of data as a whole) and to eavesdropping 
on unclassified communications in an 
eftorl to find significant nuggets of infor- 
mation. In short, communications intelli- 
gence just isn't as cost-effective as it 
used to be. Moreover, intelligence 
agencies that are addicted to technology 
can be foiled when their adversaries 
simply go low tech: Iran sidesteps 
American electronic espionage by sen- 
ding sensitive military communications 
by hand, while in El Salvador, guerrillas 
no longer transmit much useful informa- 
tion by phone.) 

The cryptographic cat is already out of 
the bag It has thus become increasingly 
difficult to justify classifying crypto- 
graphic protections like those now used 
by most governments Such protections 
are already available to individuals with 
the money and the inclination, but 
privileged individual access is of little 
consequence at the social level. To make 
a real difference, encryption systems 
would have to be as routine and invisible 
as those that manage the billing of phone 
calls, ihey would have Lo be built into the 
systems — from telephone networks to 
police databases — of concern in every- 
d.iy lile In this way, people could regain 
control of what is known about them, and 
by whom. 

New cryptosystems, very different 
from the NSA's secret ciphers, may have 
exactly the needed properties. Some- 
times distinguished as "modern," these 
systems might be able to short-circuit 
dossier-building by casting routinecre- 
dit, billing and credential transactions 
into forms useless to the computer 
matchers. 

Modern cryptography began in 1976, 
with the publication by Stanford scien- 
tists Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hell- 
man of a paper introducing the concept 
of public-key cryptography. This was an 
independent rediscovery of principles 
originated and then classified by the 
NSA in the early 'seventies. Hellman 
explains the idea by analogy: "A con- 
ventional encryption system is like a 
combination lock that requires the 
combination for both locking and unlock- 
ing." If you put the lock on a mailbox, 
everyone that uses it must have the com- 
bination. "Public-key systems are simi- 
lar except that you need two different 



16 



combinations" which form a uniquely 
matched pair — one encrypts (codes) and 
the other decrypts (decodes). "If you 
make the locking combination (i.e. the 
encryption key) public, that's privacy," 
says Hellman, because anyone can open 
the mailbox and put in a message for 
you — but only you, with your private 
key, can take out and read the messages. 

Public-key systems require no central 
authority like the NSA to provide keys; 
custom microcomputers would do a 
better job by allowing users to generate 
their own. Finally, only the private half 
of a two-part key must be kept secret, 
public-key systems are at their best 
when the non-secret keys are published 
in electronic directories rather like phone 
books 

As an added benefit, public-key 
systems can be run in reverse to 
generate "digital signatures." Such sig- 
natures allow documents to be electroni- 



cally signed by encrypting them with a 
private key — only when unlocked with 
the matching public key will decryption 
yield a meaningful text. In Hellman's 
words: digital signatures are "like 
written signatures in that they're easily 
produced by the legitimate signer, easily 
recognized by any recipient, and yet 
impossible, from a practical point of 
view, to forge." This can be seen by the 
analogy with handwritten signatures: in 
checking a signature against a sample to 
validate it, one doesn't learn how to 
produce the genuine article. 

This notion of anonymity within 
electronic networks is more fully articu- 
lated by cryptologist David Chaum, 
writing in the October 1985 issue of the 
Communications of the Association of 
Computing Machinery. Taking public- 
key cryptography as his inspiration, 
Chaum has developed techniques for eli- 
minating the personal identifiers that 






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PROCESSED WORLD #16 



make computer matching possible. He's 
done this by introducing a new concept, 
the digital pseudonym, and marrying it 
to public-key cryptography. His goal is 
simple and well-chosen — to unlink trans- 
actions from each other, so that people 
can (say) prove creditworthiness without 
revealing their entire political and 
psychological history, can demonstrate 
possession of a credential (like a degree) 
or the absence of a negative credential 
(like a felony record) without handing 
over the keys to the entire dossier. 

Every "check" written in Chaum's 
pseudonym economy would be like those 
m the old TV show "The Millionaire" — 
you could cash it, but you couldn't find 
out who wrote it. Likewise phone calls, 
plane reservations, and the rest of the 
transactions which today leave indelible 
trails of information could be authen- 
ticated as legitimate transactions, but 
traced back only to a digital pseudonym. 



"I'm saying, here's a way to use public 
keys where no one can find out which 
keys belong to which person. People 
tend to treat authentication and identi- 
fication as if they're the same, but 
they're not — and with digital signatures 
you can have authentication without 
identification." 

LAST WORD 

In June of 1985, Donald Latham, 
Assistant Secretary of Defense for 
Command, Control, Communications 
and Intelligence (C3I), told a congres- 
sional subcommittee on Computer Secu- 
rity Policy that "there's still a fair 
amount of invention needed" before the 
"computer security problem" is solved. 
Latham, of course, is a Cold Warrior who 
sees the computer security problem 
solely m terms of protecting governmen- 
tal and quasi-governmental data from 
the enemy. Still, his easy call for 




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targeted invention is notable: technology 
is his ally, and he knows it. 

Latham has money to spend. Chaum 
does not. On these grounds alone, we 
would expect Latham's view of the 
security problem to receive a good deal 
more attention than Chaum's in the 
marketplace of ideas. The matter doesn't 
end with money, however. Speaking 
earlier this year before the same 
subcommittee, the NSA's Deely made 
his preferences quite clear: "Crypto- 
graphy, like nuclear weaponry, is gov- 
ernment's business first and foremost." 
In Deeley's view, only government can 
prevent "the provision of cryptographic 
information to the other side, either by 
traitors selling secrets or [by] putting 
cryptography in the public domain." It's 
easy to guess what this means for future 
governmental attitudes towards citizen- 
oriented, decentralist data security 
schemes like Chaum's. 

Chaum's approach is well within the 
realm of technical feasibility. That's not 
ihe problem. For the pseudonym system 
tQ work, all the institutions whose 
records form the basis for electronic 
dossier-building — banks, telephone 
companies, utilities, other large cor- 
porations and government agencies- 
would have to agree to its use. Since 
such institutions now find it highly 
convenient to build dossiers or buy them 
from companies like TRW, they are 
unlikely to do so. Only a social 
movement of enormous power could 
compel the widespread institutional 
adoption of genuine privacy protection 
systems for ordinary citizens; and 
millions of dollars would immediately be 
invested in finding ways around them. 

In fact, the usefulness of proposals 
like Chaum's is precisely that they raise 
the question of why they are not 
adopted. They show us that today's 
technologies are not the only possibili- 
ties, that there is not a single current of 
"progress" with which we must swim or 
go under. Like the societies that breed 
and shape them, technologies are the 
results of human choices and they can be 
changed by human action. 

So the next time you hear that 
technology is neutral, remember the 
story of encryption, and remember who 
has the resources to manifest his vision. 
The world of cryptologically protected 
privacy may be as much a technological 
possibility as is Deeley's security state. 
But technology only builds the pipe; it 
neither pays the piper nor calls the tune. 



by Tom Athanasiou & the PW staff m 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



17 



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PROCESSED WORLD #16 



THE BASTARD 



She is in it for herself. The company, the department, is the vehicle of 
her expression. She is a houseguest, she is a servant, she is an outsider 
on a temporary pass into a permanent position. 

She works for pleasure. Money is no compensation; money is the 
medium in which she is paid recognition, self esteem, and, really, love. 
She takes the money and buys things for herself. 

She is a temp, a free-lancer, a self-employed contractor. She is a 
corporate bastard who challenges the legitimacy of the company 
family. Top executives may wander from company to company, 
because /^^;> relationships are sanctified by their salaried commit- 
ment, just as serial marriages are sanctified while serial love affairs 
are not. 

This is no world for freelancers or lovers. Once the project ends, 
once the passion cools, once she has satisfied the other's need; the 
money, the praise, the attentiveness vanishes. There is no formal send 
off, no goodbye lunch, not even a handshake. When she empties her 
desk, comes by for a check, her erstwhile colleagues avert their eyes, 
like husbands who have returned to their wives. Business goes on as 
usual without her. Everyone knows she doesn't take shit. Everyone 
knows the bastard is in it for herself. 

— by Ana Logue 




A Death in the Works 



The Library is a quiet place, where 
words live in suspense, and people pad 
softly around them, their own lives in 
escrow. The Library saves books 
(which is its business), but devours 
people by forcing them underground. 
What it does is pale the lives of we who 
work away from the sun. Leaves of 
paper become the real flesh; our pig- 
mentation transluces under the fluore- 
scent glare; we no longer see each 
other or hear the vital pulse of 
humanity for the riffling of other lives, 
comfortably stable and remote, a 
known quantity in the catalog of lies. 

It wasn't so long ago I noticed Joe 
Warn. I think that was his name; I'm 
not sure. He worked as a page — a 
lowly position pulling books off the 
shelves for patrons, and later reshel- 
ving them. We never got to know each 
other— my work is technical, and 
includes collection development; he 
was simply maintaining what was 
already there, and serving the public. 
Looking at him, though, as he frowned 
about the stacks stirred in me a tendril 
of curiosity. After long flaccidity, I 
wondered about a fellow employee. 



He somehow didn't look right for 
what he was doing: in his mid-thirties, 
he was older than the other pages. 
Working this menial job, at the low 
end of the scale, must have struck him 
as absurd in its obscurity. He had a 
Ph.D. in English, and was working on 
a degree in library school. He had a 
head full of dos Passes, having spent 
many years writing his thesis, a 
Marxist analysis of U.S.A. He was 
recently divorced. 

It doesn't really help just to wonder 
about a person's place in life outside 
the Library. As it turned out, Joe Warn 
did not have far to go. 

He shot himself one Friday after 
work. Those who worked with him kept 
very quiet about it. The pages are a 
gossipy lot, yet I heard nothing from 
them. I suspect they were not told 
about his lonely and violent end, as a 
prophylactic measure taken by their 
supervisor. Joe was not a good 
example. 

The library school did circulate a 
memo that briefly announced he had 
curtailed his involvement in all func- 
tions there. He was, in effect, a plug 



pulled from the socket of study. 

But it was in the Library itself that I 
saw the most telling obituary, a classic 
piece of no-sentiment deflection in the 
form of a "Report from the Service 
Desk," buried in the back pages of the 
weekly newsletter, a few months later. 

Joe Warn was a graduate student 
that has died. He had many books out 
from Circulation, and they have not 
been returned yet. If Mr. Warn was a 
patron of yours, be forewarned: recall 
notices will receive no response. 

There is a hush, a weird sort of aural 
conservation, that makes us fall silent 
when the going gets grim. It worries 
me no end. 

It's not the books that do it— it's like 
this outside the Library, too, but the 
books provide an access point to the 
person who works them, his neck on 
the line, only to read his own vital 
signs. 

Joe Warn's call number is marked in 
the Coroner's report, after years in 
arrearage. What more is there to say? 

Keep it to yourself. 

— D.S. Black 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



18 




t is no accident that South Africa has become the world's 
showcase for repressive social engineering. Ever since 1948, 
when the Afrikaner National Party gained control of the gov- 
ernment and legislated apartheid, a huge bureaucracy devoted to 

controlling the black majority has steadily grown in size and sophistication Today, it allows South Africa to jail more people per 
capita every year than any other country in the world (The US and USSR rank second and third.) But while South Africa 
may overshadow the superpowers in blatant ruthlessness, it depends upon their lead for the more subtle, 'soft technologies' of 
social control. ^ The western press has widely documented the most brutal applications of state repression under apartheid: the 
mass arrests, torture, murder, and commando raids by the South African Defense Force. What has largely been ignored is the 
behind-the-scenes use of high technology to maintain apartheid in the wake of black rebellion. ^ Computers have become essen- 
tial for administering the labyrinth of apartheid's laws (there have been 18 million arrests of blacks for violating the passbook 
laws alone] and offsetting the manpower shortage of the mostly white armed forces. As one South African Defense Force 
specialist put it, "It is impossible to keep up with a lean, mobile force unless you use a computer." There are a number of im- 
ported computerized military command systems which directly aid the armed forces. IBM set up a South African-owned affiliate 
that now services Project Korvor, a system that tracks ammunition and other materiel and supplies for the South African Defense 
Forces and is a key factor in coordinating the 100,000 troops South Africa has deployed to prevent independence in Namibia. 
More insidious is the use of computers by the architects of apartheid within the state bureaucracy. According to Automating 
Apartheid by Thomas Conrad, South Africa's Department of Interior uses IBM computers to store and process the voluminous 
data known as "The Book of Life." This "book" contains the racial classification, residence, employment, marital status, etc. of 
the country's white, indian and "mixed race" people. The British firm ICL outbid IBM and won the contract for the memory bank 
that tracks the country's 25 million blacks. This system stores the vital statistics for all of the country's blacks, each of whom 
must be fingerprinted at age 16. Nearly 20 million prints are stored and around one million new passbooks are issued to blacks 
each year. Together the "Book of Life " and the passbook databanks provide Pretoria with surveillance and control capabilities 
unmatched by any other bureaucracy in the world. To use all this data to its maximum potential for political repression, Pretoria 
relies on police software like IBM's "Law Enforcement System." ^ Control Data Corporation contributed its assistance to 
apartheid by selling the government its "Urban Planning Package" and "Perspective" software. Entire urban environments, in- 
cluding black townships, can be simulated — down to houses, trees, and parked cars — with,this system. % Under apartheid such 
technology has hetped design a social infrastructure that superbly accommodates police/military repression. Large expanses. 



20 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



often miles of treeless, flat land separate 
black slumtowns from the white urban 
centers. Such urban "planning" makes 
any surreptitious movement of blacks to- 
ward white areas impossible and exposes 
the townships to artillery, tank and air 
attacks. To date, there has been little 
need to go beyond military mtimidation 
in which armored carriers, tanks, and 
troops have encircled and cut off town- 
ships. But if black unrest was perceived 
to be out of control, the government has 
contingency plans for military reprisals 
that could destroy entire black townships 
without endangering nearby white areas. 
The government does not have a 
monopoly on computers tor social 
control. The business sector protects its 
interests with the help of Ontel, a US 
electronics company, which provides a 
labor surveillance network that tracks 
Africans at many large mines and 
installations. The Financial Mail, South 
Atrica's equivalent of the Wall Street 
journal, says this "labor information 
system" "provides comprehensive data 
on every worker, from his ethnic group 
to his merit rating, and also keeps tabs 
on where any worker is at any one time." 

The African National Congress 
& South African Youth 

The sophistication of surveillance, the 
web of laws against dissent and free 
association, and the brutal repression by 
police/military forces make traditional 
forms of opposition unworkable in South 
Africa. Radical groups are banned and 
their leaders jailed, exiled, or killed yet 
self-organization among blacks is de- 
monstrated daily in boycotts, strikes, 
and street rioting. Confrontation has in- 
tensified throughout the '80s especially 
since the birth of the United Democratic 
Front (UDF) in August 1983. A 
non-racial, grassroots coalition of 600 
community, labor, religious, and politi- 
cal organizations, the UDF coalesced 
around opposition to the government's 
constitutional reforms establishing col- 
oured and Indian (but not black) 
"puppet parliaments." This attempt by 
the Botha government to exacerbate 
racial tensions totally backfired. Its 
greatest impact was to further polarize 
apartheid's non-white collaborators from 
the vast majority despising them. An 
election boycott campaign involving all 
non-white races reduced voter turnout to 
less than 20"o. It galvanized the now 
widespread movement among militant 
blacks to make life impossible, often 
literally, for black and mixed-race 
stooges serving as police or government 
"officials" over the townships. 

Violence directed toward black town 
councillors appointed by the Black Local 
Authorities Act of 1982 has led over 90% 
of them to resign. Under the pretense of 

PROCESSED WORLD #16 



giving autonomous powers to black 
townships, the act was a disingenuous 
scheme to remove financial support for 
local services. Of the 38 original black 
local councils, only two are still 
functioning. 

The western press consistently pro- 
jects the African National Congress 
(ANC) as the single organization master- 
minding resistance in S.A., even though 
the UDF is much bigger and broader. 
Casting either as the vanguard obscures 
the incredibly decentralized character of 
rebellion, a reality perceived to be ex- 
tremely dangerous by white S.A. 
corporate leaders and conservative west- 
ern governments like the Reagan admin- 
istration. These forces are falling all over 
themselves to enlighten the Botha 
government so it will recognize the ANC 
as the legitimate opposition with which 
to negotiate for an orderly end to social 
unrest. To make such a scenario even 
remotely possible, they desperately need 



a single, identifiable black organization 
and its leader(s) to broker power with. 

Fortunately, the ANC is mostly 
following, not leading, a mass movement 
that defies central control. The movers 
and shakers of revolution in S.A. are the 
virtually unarmed, often leaderless, 
black and mixed-race youth who refuse 
to wait for reforms their parents never 
saw. They have developed a practice of 
near-continuous rebellion which, in 
September 1985, spilled into the previ- 
ously sacred white areas for the first 
time in South African history. Direct 
attacks on "soft targets" (e.g., shopping 
malls, beaches, and residences) in white 
areas have continued and they illustrate 
how ANC strategy often has to catch up 
with militant youth actions. Until 1985 
the ANC's position was that only "hard" 
military, police, and corporate targets 
should be attacked. But recently it had to 
revise this position to stay abreast with 
the actual events of an escalating urban 



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21 




warfare. Similarly, in 1984, when the 
ANC called for blacks to make the town- 
ships "ungovernable" (a phenomenon 
that was already occurring), the severity 
and popularity of attacks against black 
collaborators was quite unexpected. The 
rise of black-against-black violence and 
increasing chaos in the streets made 
some in the ANC feel, quite correctly, 
that events were eluding their control. 

Still, it would be equally misleading to 
deny the ANC's leadership in several 
key areas. They train thousands of guer- 
rillas-in-exile and are skilled at coordi- 
nating sabotage. Their daring attacks on 
the Koeberg nuclear power plant, 
SASOL synthetic fuel plant, Air Force 
headquarters in downtown Johannes- 
burg, and numerous police stations have 
certainly inspired blacks to strike at the 
bases of white power. The ANC has also 
timed clandestine acts of sabotage to 
coincide with open, non-violent opposi- 
tion. One of the most striking examples 
occurred when the commuter train 
connecting Soweto workers with Johan- 
nesburg was blown up the same day 
blacks staged a rrwssive work "stay- 
away" protesting rent increases. 

As in most modern revolutionary 
situations, in S.A. it is the young who are 
pushing the limits of what is possible. 
They are mostly teenagers, some 
pre-teenage, and some in their early 
twenties. It was this age group that kept 
resistance alive in the early '70s when 
the ANC was almost crushed by govern- 
ment repression. Spontaneous school 
boycotts and the emergence of the Black 
Consciousness movement emphasizing 
psychological liberation and empower- 
ment enabled students to break the lull 
in political opposition. Initially the ANC 
rejected the Black Consciousness move- 
ment with some ideologues even de- 
nouncing it as a "petty bourgeois devia- 
tion." Still, in 1977 when all Black 



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Envisaged in the Group Areas Act 



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D White Townships 

■ Indian Townships 

Q Bontu Townships 



Consciousness organizations were 
banned, it was exiled student activists 
that provided the ANC with its first large 
influx of guerilla recruits. An estimated 
75% of the 10,000 students who fled into 
exile received training from the ANC 
despite sometimes sharp political cleav- 
ages. 



In the early '80s, it was a slightly 
younger group, now called "the child- 
ren," who initiated attacks against black 
informers and collaborators with the gro- 
tesque practice of the "necklace" — 
placing a gasoline filled rubber tire 
around a victim's neck and setting them 
on fire. In the townships, it is "the 
children " who stage school boycotts; last 
year an average of 300,000 secondary 
students participated in political strikes 
at any given time. It is youth who enforce 
the consumer boycotts against white- 
owned shops (a few white owners who 
actively oppose apartheid are exempted). 
And now it is the young who are hitting 
white areas; beginning the process of 
ripping open the soft underbelly of white 
domination. 

Hit-and-run direct action has emerged 
as a common strategy of S.A. rebellion. 
Even in the legal, above-ground trade 
union movement, "limited" strikes have 
been more successful in demonstrating 
black labor power while mitigating state 
and corporate repression. Few strikes 
have lasted long, but since 1982 there 
jias been an average of one new strike 
each day. A trend has developed in 
which more work days are lost through 
strike action in each succeeding year. 

Radical confrontations, usually viewed 
as the pinnacle of revolutionary activity, 
such as a single nationwide general 
strike or all-out armed struggle, are 
serious mistakes in South Africa. 
Apartheid has successfully organized a 
social infrastructure and climate which 
allows the wholesale slaughter of blacks 
who openly mobilize themselves (e.g., 
the massacres of 1960 and 1976). 
Instead, a combination of coordinated 
labor and consumer strikes, strategic 
sabotage, limited violence, militant 
funeral marches, school boycotts, and 
spontaneous rioting — coupled with di- 
vestment/sanctions movements a- 
broad — has forged a spectrum of opposi- 
tion that is perhaps the most advanced in 
the world, ever. 

Unlike the revolutions in Iran and 
Nicaragua or the civil war in El Salvador, 
the global character of S.A. rebellion is 
highly visible and the exposure of 
multinational corporate involvement is a 
fundamental part of the opposition. 
From England to Japan to the U.S., 
thousands of people are directing con- 
certed protests against their govern- 
ments' and firms' bolstering of apar- 
theid. The scope of this international 
anti-apartheid movement is an unprece- 
dented challenge to multinational cor- 
porate freedom. 

Tactically, econorriic sanctions and 
divestment are seriously flawed. The 
problems are twofold: the harshest con- 
sequences will be diverted elsewhere 
and the measures themselves are easily 



circumvented. In lobbying against sanc- 
tions. South Africa's Deputy Minister 
Louis Nel put it bluntly: "Let us be 
frank, our neighboring states (especially 
Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, 
Lesotho and Swaziland) will suffer 
before we do. These measures will have 
an impact on the whole of southern 
Africa and South Africa will be better 
able to absorb the impact." What Mr. 
Nel didn't mention was how the super- 
fluidity of modern capital has already 
allowed "intermediaries" like Taiwan, 
Israel and Paraguay to disguise the 
west's flow of arms, technology, and 
investment into South Africa. As early as 
1978, S.A. secretly studied how to 
subvert sanctions. A cable from a U.S. 
diplomat in Pretoria to the State 
Department that year summarizes what 
has happened all along: 

"Multinationals, including U.S. 
subsidiaries, are determined to 
undercut any sanctions action and 
have already made plans to camou- 
flage their operations through sub- 
terfuges arranged with affiliates in 
other countries. " 

For the most part sanctions are used by 
reactionary governments in Bonn, Lon- 
don, and DC. as window dressing to 
appease anti-apartheid constituencies 
and to punish Marxist-oriented, majority 
rule neighbors of South Africa. Yet as a 
matter of strategy, the sanctions/divest- 
ment movement has been quite import- 
ant. The display of international solidar- 
ity against apartheid has been a tremen- 
dous boost for the morale of black South 
Africans. This should not be underesti- 
mated. The sheer hopelessness arising 
from the squalid conditions and internal- 
ized oppression under apartheid is sig- 
nificant in keeping down resistance. 
Black leaders repeatedly point out that 
when lumpen blacks learn westerners 
(even whites themselves!) are actively 
protesting to end apartheid, their sense 
of that possibility is dramatically en- 
livened. Conversely, the multi-racial, 
worldwide condemnation of S.A. is 
perhaps the strongest force deflating an 
otherwise confident white racism. 

The Corporate Response 

Blacks comprise 70% of the population 
but account for only 2% of auto sales." 

— Apartheid as seen by 
Ford Motor Co. 

Even though the Botha govern- 
ment has stubbornly insulated itself 
from world opinion, corporate powers in 
South Africa are paranoid. The govern- 
ment's grandiose talk of economic 
self-sufficiency pales before the reality 
that American and British investment 



22 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



account for 70"o of domestic banking. As 
the value of the Rand plunges and inter- 
national banks refuse to lend money to 
any S.A. borrower, the schism between 
capitalists and the government widens. 

It is against this backdrop of sliding 
foreign confidence that whites with the 
most privilege are scurrying to establish 
black civil rights. Sadly, because of their 
efforts a type of neo-apartheid is emerg- 
ing that may well restore business as 
usual minus the most blatant racism. 

In September of '85, South African 
corporate huns did the unthinkable; they 
illegally held "talks" with exiled ANC 
leaders in Zambia. More meetings have 
occurred since then, but, to date, the 
Botha government refuses to participate 
in any discussions with the ANC. To 
further pressure the government, 91 
corporate heads, including top execu- 
tives of General Motors, Eastman 
Kodak, Mobil, Citibank, and leading 
mining magnates again did the unprece- 
dented. They placed full-page advertise- 
ments in major S.A. and U.S. news- 
papers calling for an end to apartheid. 
Under the banner headline "WE BE- 
LIEVE THERE IS A BETTER WAY," 
the ads included the statement: 

We believe the reform process 
should be accelerated by abolishing 
statutory race discrimination where 
ever it exists, negotiating with ac- 
knowledged black leaders about 
power sharing, granting full South 
African citizenship to all our 
peoples, restoring and entrenching 
the rule of law." (emphasis added) 

With the growth of spontaneous 
rioting that neither the government nor 
the ANC can control, capitalists want to 
make reforms now before it's too late. 
Many believe that foreign banks and 
western countries can be satisfied and 
racial calm restored without conceding a 
timetable for black rule. Instead they 
want to allay blacks' most immediate 
concerns and engage in negotiations that 
could drag on forever. While there is no 
strong consensus, many see abolishing 
the hated pass laws, allowing blacks to 
own property, releasing Nelson Mandela 
from prison, and desegregating schools 
as going far enough without going too 
far. 

While such fundamental reforms 
would be welcomed, it is doubtful 
whether they will quell black desires for 
full rights and majority rule. If anything, 
new freedoms will fuel black aspirations 
for a more total social transformation. 

The government's most likely 
changes, such as gutting the pass laws, 
will be heralded as far-reaching reforms 
rather than necessary adjustments with- 
in an evolving neo-apartheid policy. The 
growing number of pass violations has 
prompted even the state appointed 




President's Council to recommend their 
repeal since "the (widespread) circum- 
vention of the law produces contempt for 
the relevant act and for the authori- 
ties." Corporate interests see dis- 
mantling the pass laws as a maneuver to 
calm an increasingly hostile labor force. 
For blacks living in isolated, single-sex 
work camps (a universal condition for 
male mine workers), repealing these 
laws would allow them to bring their 
families to live with them. "That would 
be a force for stability" is how one 
"labor expert" put it. "One reason a 
strike can be so volatile is that these men 
are lonely and frustrated. They can't go 
home to their families at night." 

The most militant reforms, of 
course, cannot be accommodated within 
any adaptation of apartheid. The one 
non-negotiable demand by blacks- 
majority rule — also happens to be a 
non-negotiable exclusion from the Afri- 
kaner government's agenda. The hope 
for a Zimbabwe style of transition, in 
which whites voluntarily cede political 



power to a black majority, withers before 
the peculiar Afrikaner history and re- 
solve to preserve their way of life. 
Playing hardball and snubbing Reagan 
and Thatcher governments alike, S.A. 
has repeatedly told international critics 
to go to hell by orchestrating military in- 
cursions and U.N. violations throughout 
the region. With the largest and best 
equipped army on the continent, it is un- 
likely that S.A. could be policed by even 
the superpowers. 

For the rest of the '80s, S.A. may 
prove to be a test case for the relative 
strength that repressive technology and 
military prowess haveagainst a politically 
conscious citizenry outnumbering whites 
by 28 million to 4.5 million. With whites 
armed to the teeth (three registered 
guns per adult) and non-whites who 
increasingly find life not worth living 
under apartheid, it is hard to foresee 
anything but a Beirut scenario in which 
the only form of dialogue is violence^ 

—by Med-0 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



23 



Hot Underihe Collar 




We're Talking^ You're Listenings Nothing's Happening! 



In February, Processed World went to a "VDT Speakout" in San Francisco's financial district. The Berkeley 
VDT Coalition and the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) sponsored the Friday-after-work event, which 
brought out nearly 100 workers, most of whom suffered from computer-induced injuries. They testified before a 
panel of "listeners"— loced politicians, a news reporter, and a professional Teamster lobbyist. 

Into microphones and before video cameras, secretaries, word processors, and clerks described the 
symptoms from their computer work: hemorrhaged retinas, irregular menstruations, problem pregnancies, 
wrenched torsos, pinched wrist nerves, migraine headaches, nervous breakdowns, allergies, rashes— and medical 
bills. ("Speakout" excerpts appear below.) 

The "Speakout" testimony amplified computer workers' concerns over radiation, glare, electromagnetic fields, 
as well as the speedups computers make possible. Flight reservation clerk Toni Watson described Pacific 
Southwest Airline's (PSA's) computerized work/potty monitoring system. The system tracks each worker's 
8V2-hour day in minutes of labor performed. It also records infractions of PSA's 106-second-per-phone-call rule 
and prints daily performance rates, including "EXCESSIVE UNPLUG TIME" for trips to the bathroom. 
Threatened with an ultimatum— job loss or "special [potty] training" to reduce unproductive minutes spent 
urinating— Toni suffered a nervous breakdown from which it took eight months to recover. 

With the conviction of an umpire making a bad call, the Speakout 's Teamster lobbyist grimly advised injured 
workers to be patient and to pare demands for safety legislation. (The Teamsters represent Toni and fellow 
workers at the electronic PSA sweatshop described above.) Others, including Processed World, spoke against 
relying on safety bills, which the computer lobby has successfully diluted or defeated— and on beheilf of direct job 
actions to win shielding from hazards, as well as freedom from Brave-New-Work-monitoring systems. The VDT 
Coalition (c/o LOHP, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94720) video-taped the event, portions of which also 
aired on a local radio station. 



24 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 




I'm Toni Watson, I work at PSA's 
reservation center in San Diego... We 
have SVa hr. shifts on constant use of 
VDTs. We have 2 paid 15-minute breaks 
and one unpaid 30-minute lunch and out 
of that 7'/2 hours we're only allowed to 
be 12 minutes off the phone for any 
reason. We're expected to be seated in 
our positions for all that time. That 
includes everything: We can't receive or 
make personal phone calls so if you have 
a family you have to go outside and use 
the pay phone. All that time is alloted 
out— cigarette breaks, rest breaks, talk- 
ing to your co-worker, anything. 

We have to punch in and out of three 
"nits. We have our time clock, we have 
the VDT, and also we sign in our 
headsets on which phone calls drop in. 
The VDT and the call-ins track every 
micro-second of our workday. They make 
a daily printout we call scans — like 
electronic scans. They contain the 
production quotas: like call length time, 
speed of answer, and sometimes if they 
want us to work faster they will flash a 
red light on the wall . . . PSA emphasizes 
a lot in their advertising about their 



smiles (laughter from the audience) in 
the restroom we all make jokes — 
THERE IS NO SMILING HERE (more 
laughter) there is no TIME to smile 
(most laughter). You probably don't 
realize when you call PSA and you think 
you have a rude or a curt agent that we 
have 106 seconds — SECONDS to process 
your call, take the next call, and hold... 
You might say, well how does the 
company enforce that? Well, they have a 
whole staff they call QUALITY ASSU- 
RANCE (laughter)... if they don't like 
the way you handle a call they write you 
up on a clipboard. It's a clipboard with a 
worksheet and they check "did this, did 
that." Two examples of why you would 
be written up are — (Someone from the 
audience interjects, "Slow down, slow 
down. " Everyone laughs since Toni has 
generally speeded up her delivery as she 
describes the intensity of PSA 's work- 
pace, she responds:] "After six years on 
the job I can't handle it... I can't handle 
freedom!" (Tremendous laughter & 
clapping). 

(After the audience's uproar subsides) 
"Well, it's really fun to laugh at but it's 
terrible to work here. Some people really 
suffer... for instance I was four years on 
the job and I was basically told that I was 
8 minutes a day over the 12 minute 
"un-plugged time office standard." I 
would have to improve or lose my job... 
My husband was laid off and I had a 
16-year-old stepson to support so I got 
upset. I really needed my job. I tried to 
improve. It wasn't enough. They still 
wanted more. I was still 3 minutes over 
standard. The job stress grew unbear- 
able. I brought the stress home and it 
grew. My supervisor told me that my 
personal life and my family were causing 
my excessive bathroom breaks, but in 
fact when I received treatment for 
it— job stress was causing a nervous 
condition that caused me to urinate 
more. 

. . . [One day] I just turned and looked 
at the supervisor and said, "You know, I 
just can't work anymore." And she said, 
"What is WRONG WITH YOU? Are you 
sick? Go lay down in the dispensary but I 
can only give you ten minutes! (Laugh- 
ter) and then you have to take your 
phone calls and finish your shift." 

My mind just went click when she said 
that ten minutes was all I got. I just 
looked at her and said, "I don't know 
what's wrong with me but it's going to 
take longer then ten minutes. Just sign 
me out-SICK! 



I'm a full-time word processor for a 
law firm. I'm in front of a VDT for about 
7'/2 hours a day. I guess I'm a little slow 
to catch on— I'd heard rumors that there 
were things associated with VDTs but I 



thought, "Ah, just rumors." I really 
began to wonder when about a week ago 
I had to arrange for one of my co-workers 
to be taken to a hospital emergency 
room. . . She couldn't get up, she was so 
dizzy she couldn't stand up, her vision 
was blurry, and all she could do was lie 
on the floor. So we called a doctor and 
they said to immediately get her into an 
emergency room. I also called a couple of 
other people who worked different shifts 
and they said, "Oh! Stress attack." I 
said, "Huhh!" They said, "Oh yeah, I 
had one of those. Last year, so and so 
had one and had to be carried out . . . 
Four people that I know of in our firm 
have had something called stress 
attack— which I don't think is the same 
thing as an anxiety attack. (Much 
laughter from the audience.) 



I'm with Processed World magazine 
and a technical writer in Silicon Valley. 
I'd like to talk about several things: 
First of all, about the opposition out 
there to VDT legislation and two, any 
movement to even legitimize the idea 
that VDTs are hazardous. We're talking 
about an incredible coalition of computer 
equipment manufacturers that no one 
here has mentioned anything about. 
They have several coalitions, one of 
them is the ATA which is 31 airline 
companies; IBM, Digital Equipment 
Corp., etc. They are very well organized 
and very well-heeled. They have been 
collectively responsible for defeating and 
watering down the kind of legislation we 
have heard a little bit about here tonight. 
There motivation is very obvious, they're 
liable— I mean if they're liable, they're 
really liable in a very big way when you 
consider how many computers are out 
there. If the idea that computers are 
hazardous to our health gets popularized 
and becomes legitimate, it will make the 
Johns-Manville (asbestos] class action 
look like nothing. So we are not trying to 
struggle in a vacuum; there is very 
strong opposition. 

I'd like to speak also against the idea 
of relying upon legislation. I think it is a 
very weak reed to lean on. And I think 
the record bears me out. On a federal 
level NIOSH and OSHA for example, 
conspired to make X-ray standards 
negotiable for workers. People who work 
in hospitals and with X-ray equipment 
are allowed by OSHA to have twice the 
yearly exposure rate as the rest of us. 
This is the kind of negotiations the 
government goes into on behalf of 
hospitals and is already showing its 
willingness to do with the computer 
manufacturers. Witness the defeat or 
watering down of all these bills we have 
heard about. 

I really take offense at the idea that we 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



25 



should try to limit our demands to what 
is going to be signed by the current 
governor or any other governor. If we did 
that we'd be back in the Stone Age. 
(laughter) I really think the answer is 
direct, point-of-production action. I don't 
think there is any substitute for that at 
all. 



I've had severe eye problems for about 
four years. I've been to five eye doctors, 
specialists, and none of them know what 
it is. Sure they have come up with all 
kinds of crazy theories but it's not fixable 
with eye glasses. I suppose I have a lot of 
irritation but I work out every day after 
work. If I don't work out for a couple of I 
hours after work, I'm really irritated! 
And I've noticed it in other people at 
work too and I know that a lot of it has to 
do with bad lighting, some of the chairs 
aren't good. (I have a good chair, but I 
know some of the people have back 
problems.) What I'm trying to do to 
alleviate it is I'm BLACKMAILING the 
owners into putting in a drop ceiling and 
divider lights because at the moment 
they really need my services and if they 
don't do it, I won't be there in 2 weeks!, 

***** 

I worked for two years on a research 
project at Stanford where a lot of my 
work was done in front of a VDT. My 
first two weeks on the job were very 
stressful and I came home every day and j 
lay down flat on my back and could do 
nothing else. I thought, well, this is just ] 
adjusting to the job . . . But the entire 
time I was there I had eyestrain, I felt ' 
separation from everyone in the officei 
because everyone was using VDTs andi 
not using phones, and not using human 
communication. So there was a lot of 
separation, a lot of stress, but I never 
really attributed the feelings I was , 
having of really bad burnout and 
depression to the situation I was in. It I 
never made sense to me that it would be 
the stuff coming at me through the 
screen. And I don't think the other 
people I was working with felt that 
either. The point I want to make is that it 
is very easy to attribute subtle symptoms 
to your own personal life but not really 
look at what else is going on. 

***** 



wlisperceptioiT 



Most computer displays emit a variety 
of radiation, including Extremely Low 
Frequency (ELF) and Very Low Fre- 
quency (VLF). InSilicon Valley, engineers 
and even company-literature often lump 
ELF and VLF together, probably because 
the two are so close to one another and on 
the lowest end of the electromagnetic 
spectrum. In "Unwanted Guests" (PW 
14), both were sloppily called "VLF," a 
technical error I encountered elsewhere 
while researching the article. Since then, 
new research suggests that VLF and ELF 
may have different biomedical effects, 
and thus makes the distinction a meaning- 
ful one for non-engineering types. 

ZAP!!!! 

In January, Sweden announced new 
research linking radiation from Video 
Display Terminals (VDTs), a.k.a. compu- 
ters, to severe birth defects, this time in 
mice. The Swedish findings lent weight to 
previous European research, dismissed 
by US medical associations and compu- 
ter makers. The research also supports the 
worst fears of North American computer 
workers, whose miscarriage and birth 
defect rates are abnormally high. 

The Swedish government responded by 
shelvjng plans to purchase 8,000 compu- 
ter terminals. Bidders were asked to 
supply radiation and safety shielding in- 
formation. 

The Reagan Administration responded 
to the Swedish research by terminating a 
National Institute for Occupational Safety 
and Health (NIOSH) computer hazards 
study. The study, begun in 1984 and the! 
largest ever of its kind, might have! 
surveyed pregnancy risks among severall 
thousandcomputerworkers. According tol 
1 the Wall Street Journal, the White Housel 
Ibudget office objected to alleged "design! 
and scientific flaws" in the study's! 
research plan. More likely, the objectionsi 
issued from the computer lobby, whose 
constituents refuse to shield the display! 
units when assembled and thus are liablel 
for damages from computer-induced] 
problem pregnancies. The journal re- 
ports that NIOSH is "revising" its] 
research plan, and may ask the Whitej 
House to "reconsider" its decision. But] 
the NIOSFi zapping is only a recent! 
casualty among publicly available com- 
puter-radiation research (see "Unwanted] 
Guests," PW 74). 



Japanese VDT Study 

A survey on the health effects of video 

display terminals carried out among 

12,121 men and women workers by 

Sohyo, the Japanese General Council of 

Trade Unions, has found high levels of 

abnormalities reported by pregnant 

women. Sixty-seven percent of those 

kSurveyed replied to the questionnaires. 

lAbout 80"'> of the respondents were in 

itheir 20s and 30s and had worked with 

[VDTs for an average of about two and a 

half years. 

Among the 250 women who had been 
pregnant while working with VDTs, 36"o 
claimed they felt or experienced "ab- 
normalities" of one kind of another. 
About 27"m of the pregnant women 
experienced complications during preg- 
nancy and 20% had miscarriages, 
premature deliveries or other forms of 
^^abnormal deliveries, the survey found 

Over one third of the pregnant women 

'experienced difficulties during both 

pregnancy and delivery. The frequency 

of abnormalities increased in proportion 

to the amount of time spent facing VDTs. 

kProblems affected 25"') of those using 

rthe machines for less than one hour a 

day, while 64".) of those facing the 

screens for more than six hours a day 

reported problems... Sohyo advises 

against pregnant women using VDTs... 

from WORK HAZARDS [c/o Workers 

Health Centre, 27 John St., Lidconnbe, 

NSW 2141, Australia] 



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26 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



Unions?? 

In Silicon Valley?!? 

Late in 1985, the Communications 
Workers of America (CWA) announced it 
was launching the first "serious 
organizing drive at nonunion IBM. Ken 
Major, a CWA Northern California 
spokesperson confirmed the rumor, and 
also told the media he was answering calls 
from several production workers at ? 
nonunion firms in Silicon Valley. The an- 
nouncements surprised IBM workers in 
Silicon Valley and in Endicott, New York 
(home of IBM Workers United, P.O. Box 
634, Johnson City, NY 13790], who have 
been organizing themselves informally- 
and independently. 

"Sounded to me I ike it was off the wall,' 
according to M, an IBM-San Jose clean 
room worker who helps publish Workers 
Vo/ce and who is bitter about the CWA and 
mainstream American unions. {Workers 
Voice is published by dissident Silicon 
Valley IBM production workers. It 
chronicles and protests IBM's sometimes 
sophisticated, sometimes crude intru- 
sions into worklife. Write Workers Vo;ce, 
453 W. San Carlos, San Jose, CA 95110.) 

Shortly after the CWA' s proclamations, 
M recounted the following: 

"I'vecalled the local head of the CWA; 
she doesn't even return my calls... We 
have put out requests to the (Santa Clara) 
Central Labor Council to do just very low- 
level funding and provide a phone and so .; 
on, which they have not done. Then I ^ 
was referred to someone in San 
Francisco named Ken Major with CWA 
and told he could answer my questions, 
and he hasn't called back. So they're 
obviously not serious. It's really arrogant 
I think." 

One needn't support the Valley's 
corporate anti-union agenda to see why 
the CWA and other AFL-CIO affiliates 
are unlikely friends of high-tech 
labor. Amid the worst-ever slump in 
Silicon Valley, job security has emerged 
as a major issue. At the moment, AT&T 
is laying off thousands of CWA rank and 
file nationwide, with no effective resis- 
tance from that union (See PW #9 for an 
analysis of the '83 phone strike and a 
prediction of this scenario 





LOCAL ALTERNATIVE TV 
Legal "underground" TV is finally 



support this new exercise of Free 
Press, just send your tax-deductible 
donations to the Bay Area Center for 
Art & Technology, 37 Clementina St., 
San Francifco, CA 94105 or write for 
more information. 




Another potential source of bad 
feeling is often overlooked. Many Silicon 
Valley electronics workers are recent 
Asian and Central American immi- 
grants. The AFL-CIO's missionary work 

; in their homelands is unlikely to inspire 

'faith in AFL-CIO Silicon-Valley organi- 

i.zing efforts. 

AFL-CIO dues, plus once-removed 
congressional and federal agency mon- 
ies, fund the quasi-secret activities of 
AIFLD and AAFLI (Latin and Asian 
American Free Labor Institutes). These 
august bodies actively support U.S. 
State Department policies and pro- 
dictatorship "unions" in the Philippines, 
South Korea, El Salvador and elsewhere. 
In a characteristic act of solidarity with 
Filipino workers, for example, AAFLI 
channeled money into a government- 
organized union that defended the mass 
arrest of workers by the now-deposed 
Marcos regime (See "Which Side Are 
You On, AAFLI?" The Nation, February 
15, 1986). This is not the kind of thing 
union organizers like to boast about, 

-particularly among Silicon Valley Fili- 
pino workers, most of whom probably 
are unaware of the AFL-CIO's foreign 
missions. 

The CWA isn't the only AFL-CIO 
union actively not organizing in Silicon 
Valley. Years ago, the International 
Association of Machinists and Aerospace 
Workers (I AM) contracted with the two 
biggest employers — missile-maker Lock- 
heed and tank-maker FMC. These, plus 
nuclear weapons makers Westinghouse 
and General Electric Nuclear— both also 
lAM-organized — comprise the only in- 
dustrial union shops of consequence in 
the Valley. The lAM Lockheed Local 
chief told me that his union's executive 
board has imposed a moratoriurrt on 
organizing in Silicon Valley (the lAM 
executive board in Washington, D.C., 
could not be reached for comment by 
phone; apparently, it doesn't return calls 
either.) With the aplomb of a George 
Schultz, he also defended JAM members' 
contributions to Star Wars and conven- 
tional military hardware, issues around 
which independent organizing is now 
stirring. —by Dennis Hayes 



Computer Nerds 
Against Nihilism 

Bucking the let's-build-neat-compu- 
ters-for-war-trend, Silicon Valley area 
computer workers — mainly program- 
mers and computer-manual writers- 
met recently in Berkeley to discuss oppo- 
sition to Star Wars and other military 
uses of their work. The discussion 
focused on what tactics computer 
workers might adopt to tap and 
galvanize latent opposition to the 
computerized war technology they (often 
unwittingly] build. The group is actively 
considering a variety of tactics — urging 
pledges of noncooperation on Star Wars 
contracts, staging educational forums, 
and building an employer data base to 
apprise workers of Pentagon connections 
and facilitate job transfers out of military 
production. [The group is open to 
suggestions. Interested? For more infor- 
mation, and meeting times, write c/o 
Processed World.] 

—by Dennis Hayes 







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Sound of Silence 

Using a form of strike that was 
successful earlier this year, women at 
Zyrardow Stella textile factory in Poland 
refused to turn on their machines after 
the breakfast break, in an action that 
commemorated the historic strike in the 
Gdansk shipyards on August 27th. 

The silence of the machines soon 
spread, and the strikers refused to talk 
with the factory director and reportedly 
laughed out of the hall the prosecutor 
who threatened them with jail for an 
'illegal' strike. 

Refusing to send representatives to 
negotiate with the Ministry of Labour 
and Wages, all the women took turns to 
speak for everybody. They won a wage 
rise in two days and the management 
agreed to reinstitute free Saturdays as 
soon as the demand was made. 

from COUNTER INFORMATION #8, 
[Box 81, c/o 43 Candlemaker Row, 
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK] 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



27 



Watsonville Strike 
Falters, and Goes On 

In Processed World #15, we gave an 
account of the Watsonville strike, begun 
by 1900 workers at the two major 
canning factories when management 
tried to cut wages by 40%. We described 
the strong community support for the 
largely Mexican, female workforce, and 
these workers' efforts to organize them- 
selves in the face of stalling by their 
union. Teamsters Local 912. An ad hoc 
Strike Committee was formed, which 
presided over a mass meeting where 
delegates were elected, organizational 
goals set, tasks allocated. 

At the time PW #15 went to press 
(Nov. 1985), strikers were enthusiastic 
and hopeful that the Strike Committee 
would help galvanize and coordinate 
what was clearly going to be a long, 
difficult fight. For a while, roving pickets 
and surprise attacks on scab vans kept 
the plants operating well below capacity. 

By December, however, the situation 
was deteriorating. After several months 
without pay and with no clear progress in 
negotiations, the strikers' morale began 
to erode. Attendance on the picket lines 
was low, and rank-and-file organizers 
were hard put to mobilize others for 
militant actions. The company was suc- 
cessfully bussing in enough scabs to 
cover their diminished production quotas 
during the December lull. 

According to several workers and sup- 
porters we interviewed, the union 
election was the single most damaging 
factor in the strike during this time. 
Carlos, a young worker who has been 
very active throughout the strike, 
described how the strikers' energies 
were redirected into backbiting and 
divisive jockeying for position in the 
union. As a result of this, the Strike 
Committee never called another general 
assembly and eventually disintegrated. 
We were surprised that, despite his 
critical stance toward the union, Carlos 
himself supported the slate of Sergio 
Lopez, the local's business agent. Other 
key militants, again divided amongst the 
various slates, became heavily involved 
in running for positions on the union 
Board of Trustees. 

Most of the platforms for union 
elections called for a favorable end to the 
strike; but as Carlos pointed out, none of 
them presented any practical ideas for 
accomplishing this. The Lopez slate 
eventually emerged victorious, though 
some reputedly militant workers (inclu- 
ding one TDU'er) were elected to the 
Governing Board. 

In February, activists who had 
squared off against each other in the 
union election once again joined forces. 
The motive was frustration with the 

28 



and its timiditv about stopping the scabs. 
A tentative new group coalesced under 
the name of Teamsters United, formed 
by TDU associates, other left groups, 
and independent rank-and-filers like 
Carlos. 

The new group advocated bold, ag- 
gressive tactics to put the pressure on 
the canneries — campaigning among 
fieldworkers and fellow-Teamster truck 
drivers for a boycott on producing or 
delivering vegetables for the struck 
canneries, organizing large-scale street 
demonstrations, seeking active support 
from other canneries and Labor Coun- 
cils, and above all, moving to block the 
scabs by any means necessary. 




Scarcely had these actions been 
planned, however, when another major 
setback occurred. On February 14, a 
meeting of about half the Richard Shaw 
workers, under heavy pressure from the 
Local 912 officials, voted 275 to 136 to 
accept a new base rate of $5.85 per hour, 
81 cents less than the company's original 
offer. The officials themselves had been 
pressured into accepting this atrocious 
deal by the International, which (it is 
rumored) had been threatening to 
transfer funds out of the local and even 
force it to pay back all legal costs 
incurred during the strike. The workers 
were demoralized by their failure to stop 
the scabs and by economic hardship (by 
early February, 71 strikers' families had 
been evicted for non-payment of rent). 



The new local leadership, along with the 
worker delegates to the negotiating 
committee, have been widely accused of 
manipulation and dishonesty in getting 
the contract ratified. Carlos claims that 
crucial details were "blacked out" until 
the meeting began, that committee 
members claimed to have "won" 
provisions that were already in the old 
contract, and that little or no time was 
provided for discussion. Strikers were 
also won over to the contract by a 
company promise of profit-sharing if 
revenues improved enough. However, 
no criterion of sufficient profits was ever 
established, and many workers (inclu- 
ding at least one newly-elected delegate 
to the local's Board of Trustees), remain 
skeptical. The Shaw contract also 
included a "de-escalator" clause that 
would allow the employer 90 days to seek 
a new, lower contract in the event that 
wages at other canneries sink still 
further. 

To make matters worse, workers at 
other smaller local canneries, including 
Green Giant and Del Mar, quickly 
settled for contracts similar to the 
Richard Shaw agreement. 

Strikers from Watsonville Canning 
(and many at Shaw who did not vote or 
had voted against the contract) were 
outraged by these developments. "The 
people at Shaw had an obligation to us 
and they broke it," says Margarita 
bitterly. 

A fresh wave of militancy swept 
through the strikers and gave Teamsters 
United renewed momentum. There were 
repeated violent confrontations with 
police and scabs. Frank Bardacke, a 
founder of the TDU branch in Watson- 
ville, says that the rioting in late 
February was the most extreme he's 
seen "since Berkeley in the early 
seventies"— over 200 people overturn- 
ing and burning police cars, smashing 
store windows, pelting police with rocks 
and bottles, lobbing back teargas canni- 
sters, and preventing police from 
arresting strikers. Scab vehicles were 
surrounded and in some cases forced 
back, or their occupants dragged out and 
beaten. At least one striker seized by 
police was rescued by a concerted charge 
from the strikers' side. 

This level of confrontation could not be 
sustained for long, and has subsided, at 
least for the time being. Carlos, Frank 
Bardacke and other activists are cautious 
about the strike's future. The best hope, 
Bardacke feels, lies with the thousand- 
strong workforce at two other large 
plants, Smuckers and J.J. Crosetti. 
These workers may well walk out June 
30 when their contract expires. The 
problem, obviously, is whether the 
beleaguered Watsonville Canning stri- 
kers can hold out that long. The new, 
"reformist" local leadership is sticking 
to a conservative and legalistic line — no 

PROCESSED WORLD #16 



violence, no secondary boycotts, no 
serious attempt to mobilize fieldworkers 
or other potential worker allies. Yet 
without such actions, the strikers' 
already low morale may collapse alto- 
gether, leaving the Smuckers and 
Crosetti workers isolated in their turn. 

There is still a chance. The spinach 
season has begun, requiring the com- 
pany to increase its workforce substan- 
tially. Carlos thinks that a well-planned 
campaign combining direct action and 
effective publicity to build solidarity may 
be able to hurt the company enough to 
force significant concessions. Mean- 
while, he and other activists are trying to 
sort out the events of the past few 
months, especially their failure to move 
the Local 912 apparatus in a more 
combative direction via the elections. In 
fact, as Frank Bardacke points out, the 
new leadership was able to sell the 
Richard Shaw workers a contract that the 
old one could never have put over. Why 
did people outspokenly critical of the 
union and its conservatism suddenly 
break faith with fellow-militants once 
they were elected, even to unpaid 
positions on the Board of Trustees or the 
negotiating committee? Part of the 
answer, of course, is the pressure from 
the International. Carlos adds: "They 
start to feel like they're part of the club, 
they get a Teamster jacket, they're 
treated like somebody special, different 
from ordinary people;" Frank Bardacke 
puts it, "they get fed lots of economic 
gobbledygook," so that they start seeing 
things from the bureaucrats' standpoint. 
At least one worker regretted parti- 
cipating in the union elections. "I used 
to be friendly with all the workers. But 
since I became a representative of the 
union, people have turned against me." 
Why do people continue to rely on 
mstitutions that have already disap- 
pointed and deceived them? Why don't 
they trust their own perceptions and 
feelings? Partly because they feel 
powerless without an organization. 
Partly because they are unsure about 
their abilities to create their own, 
especially in a situation where they are 
already facing the wrath of the police 
and management, and where the 
outcome of their fight is anything but 
certain. Answers like "authoritarian 
conditioning" spring to mind, but be- 
hind such phrases is an immensely 
complex web of social, cultural and 
psychological forces - upbringing, 
schooling, religion, isolation, the influ- 
ence of the mass media and the sheer 
wearing down of the spirit by routine, 
largely mindless supervised labor. To 
unravel this web in theory so as to hack 
it aparl in practice is the task facing 
anyone lighting for a genuinely radical 
workers' movement. 
by Caitlin Manning & Louis Michaelson laj 



1, 




mm 




THIS MONTH'S LESSON: HMi**i\fcMHWnmnnniniiiii 



HOW TO BE A 
FOUR MINUTE, 59 SECOND MANAGER! 



'■^'•^^^^^'-■^'-"''^^'^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^'^^■^■^«^*****«^**^*^^^^^*^**«**' 



In order to be a success as a business manager, it is of the utmost 
importance to learn some useful tools to apply to this discipline. 
TOOL #1. TELL 'EM ANYTHING TO GET THE JOB DONE. Recent 
studies have shown that the average attention span of most American 
workers is shorter than the average attention span of most over-priced 
American pet store gerbils. Tell 'em anything to get them off your back, 
they forget quick. 

TOOL #2. PROMINENTLY DISPLAY YOUR MBA DEGREE Academic 
credentials clearly absolve you from a multitude of sins. Gee whiz, what 
employee isn't fooled by pop psychology, matrix organization jibberish or 
the sympathetic pictures of wife, kids, dog, I'm a working Joe too? 
TOOL #3. BEFRIEND YOUR EMPLOYEES. Hey, what's wrong with a few 
drinks after work, maybe a nightcap at his/her apartment and a little 
foreplay? It's all part of a day's search for excellence. 
TOOL #4. THE COST OF LIVING RAISE. Never give an employee a raise 
which in fact raises his/her standard of living. Why? Because it is common 
business knowledge that hungry employees will work harder. Give them a 
song and dance about how tough things are, foreign competition. Buy 
American, robots, etc. 

TOOL #5. TRANSFER GUILT. American workers are daily being 
conditioned to believe that their jobs are in jeopardy, that their salaries and 
benefits are the cause of business ills, and that it is up to them to shape up. 
(The poor beleaguered management are the ones who really suffer.) Take 
advantage of this conditioning. 

TOOL #6. NEVER TRY ANYTHING NEW. In fact, an employee who 
suggests changes should be labeled through innuendo as disgruntled, anti- 
business or a trouble-maker. 

TOOL #7. WIMP IS IN. Never disagree or agree with any decision too 
strongly. Say yes and maybe and smile a lot. Rub your chin for thoughtful 
emphasis. It doesn't matter to anyone, so cover your ass. 
TOOL #8. NEVER HIRE ANYONE WHO ISN'T A DRONE. The prospec 
five employee who is qualified is unqualified. Find the person who you can 
lecture or berate. This always makes you look better and gathers sympathy 
for you. The qualified candidate should be turned down with phrases like: 
"I don't know if you'll find this work challenging enough" or "You 
probably won't stay here long and I can't take a chance." Better yet, turn 
the resume over to the personnel department whose job it is to lose 
resumes or unduly delay the hiring process. 

TOOL #9. READ LOTS OF BUSINESS MAGAZINES. American business is 
paranoid and the last month's sensationalist article about "employees to 
watch out for" or "backstabbing your boss" may be just your ticket to a 
brighter corporate career. 

TOOL #10. BECOME A MOVIE CRITIC. Just because you've got an MBA 
shouldn't prevent you from affecting the box-office receipts of a Hollywood 
director's latest release. Who cares about art? Remind everyone how much 
it cost to make! You can be in the vanguard of the Dump-on-a-director-of- 
the-month-club. 

The Business Page is reprinted from Silicon Daze, 365 Adelphi St., *2, Brooklyn, NY 11238 






PROCESSED WORLD #16 



29 





o I assume this get-together has something to do 
with Al Steinhardt, eh, George? Touchy subject. 
I'd prefer to say "no comment" and leave it at 
that. Not that I don't appreciate all the favors you've 
done for me and the company in the past. All of us at 
Farnham & Hagen appreciate the good press you've 
given us, especially after that accident on the Indonesia 
project. 

I understand, you're under a lot of pressure from the 
rumor mill. Well, since I'm basically a straight-shooting 
kind of guy, and you're an old friend, I'm willing to 
answer anything you might ask about Al Steinhardt. J ust 
remember to call me a highly-placed source in Farnham 
& Hagen. And make sure you messenger me a copy of 
what you write before it goes to press, you know, so 
nobody's feelings get hurt. How about another one? I'll 
buy the drinks seeing as how you're buying the lunch. 

I have to say, there were a lot of things I liked about 
Steinhardt. I never heard him complain about anything. 
He just did what he was asked. If the job was particularly 
difficult, he'd figure out a way to do it all on his lonesome 
without taking up anybody else's time. Okay, he had 
problems with some of the people who worked for him, 
but you know, nine times out of ten, I was on his side. 
See, Al didn't tolerate failure, wanted everything right 
the first time, no fuss, no muss, just good solid results. 
This man consistently put the organization's needs 
above his own. He wasn't happy unless he was working. 
I remember once on my way out to lunch I ran into him in 
the lobby. He was looking at the map of our worldwide 
project sites with a faraway look in his eyes, and he told 
me, you know, Mr. Meyers, I hope you won't think I'm 
foolish for saying so, but every time I look at that map, I 
feel I'm part of something great. 




Looks like our table's ready. I want to make one thing 
clear, though, Al Steinhardt wasn't what you'd call a 
friend of mine. He was the kind of person you forgot 
about once you left work. Funny thing, his office was 
pretty sparse, just the bare minimum he needed to do his 
job. And he had what you'd call a quirk, he wore rubber 
gloves every time he handled anything with ink on it. 
Every week, he'd send his secretary out to get him a new 
pair. Poor old Marge, every day she had to come in half 
an hour before he did and clean every square inch of that 
office of his — the walls, the phone, everything — with a 
special kind of bottled soap he kept in his desk, 
apparently a drop or two was all it took to get things nice 
and clean, sure wish my wife had something like that, 
but when I asked him where I could get it he said they 
didn't make it anymore. 

Good afternoon, waiter. I'll have my usual — the 
petrale. Oh, and two more drinks, one gin and tonic, one 
vodka tonic. Relax, George, and thank your lucky stars 
you got me in a talkative mood. 

The whole thing started with that demonstration last 
week in front of our building. Al and a few of us had gone 
outside to have a look, and this skinny kid started 
shouting at us, something dumb like get out of South 
Africa, you criminals. Now you and I both know that 



30 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



we're in SA because they've got a good 
business climate, not because we agree 
with everything they do there. 

So anyway, when he heard what that 
kid was saying, Al turned all red and 
started breathing hard, and the rest of us 
were thinking what's gotten into quiet 
old Al Steinhardt. Then damned if he 
didn't go completely off the beam and 
yell, I've lived in South Africa and the 
people in power there are smart enough 
to know that civilization would collapse if 
it didn't know how to deal with its scum, 
all these years of hard work have earned 
me the right to be left in peace by swine 
like you 

I give the kid credit, he was pretty 
scared but he didn't budge. Then I 
noticed TV cameras nearby and thought, 
great, now Farnham & Hagen will look 
bad on the evening news just because for 
once in his life Al Steinhardt lost his 
cool. So I stepped in between Al and the 
kid, looked Al straight in the eye, and 
said, let's go back to work, Al. He didn't 
seem to recognize me at first, but 
eventually he straightened his tie and 
said very well, Mr. Meyers, whatever 
you say. I wanted to show the kid how 
well 1 took charge, so I added: pull 
yourself together, Al, and see me in my 
office as soon as you can. I want to talk to 
you. 

Then I told the kid I was sorry for what 
happened, but my associate had been 
feelmg the strain of too much hard work 
lately, and when the kid grew up and got 
a )ob he would understand what it al! 
meant. 1 tried to shake his hand, but he 
just turned his back on me and walked 
away. So I said okay, fine, that's the end 
of that, and we went back inside. 

Ah, here comes our food. Two more 
drinks, waiter. Goddamn, George, the 
only time I talk this much is when I'm 
drunk. I guess I'm drunk. Did you plan it 
that way? Get your old pal drunk so he 
can spill the beans? Hey now, don't take 
it personally, I was only kidding. 

Well sir, when Al showed up in my 
office, I was relieved to see him looking 
like his old self, calm, not a hair out of 
place. By that time, I had decided he 
should take a short vacation. I thought 
that he was under some stress, his job 
wasn't all that easy, and of course he 
wasn't a spring chicken, almost old 
enough to retire. Besides, it's hard for 
anyone, especially someone as dedicated 
as Al, to put in a solid day's work and 
then hear some fuzz-brain putting it 
down like it was nothing. I approached 
the matter cautiously, because 1 knew Al 
was sensitive to anything that called his 
effectiveness into question. 

He was very professional about every- 
thing, apologized if his behavior had 
reflected badly on the company, and he 
assured me that nothing of the kind 







would happen again. He brushed the 
vacation idea aside, though, because he 
had his hands full with the Indian Valley 
nuclear power plant, which was already 
ten months behind schedule and well 
over budget, and he couldn't possibly let 
someone else take it over. I tried hard to 
change his mind, but Al was stubborn as 
a mule, so I gave up and said if he had 
any problems to come and see me again, 
my door was always open. Then he asked 
if I was accusing him of weakness. That 
took me off guard a little, and I told him 
of course not, I was just concerned that 
he might be working too hard, and he 
answered, please don't doubt my 
abilities, Mr. Meyers, my whole life has 
been dedicated to the good of my 
employers. 

When he left, I needed to clear my 
head, so I did what I usually do in 
situations like that, I took a walk. I came 
back and this message was on my desk, a 
Mr. Layton from the U.S. Government 
had telephoned, it was urgent. 

How's your meal coming, George? I 
ought to stop talking and start stuffing, 
pardon me for a minute. The chefs here 
are real masters. You must be getting 
old, you aren't drinking the way you 
used to. Waiter, another gin and tonic. 

I was feeling kind of jittery when I 
called Layton back, and it didn't help 
that he acted all mysterious and 
wouldn't answer any of my questions. 
We arranged to meet after work right 
here at Simpson's Bar & Grill, and just 
before he hung up, he said Mr. Meyers, 
you'll need a strong shot of something 



after you hear what I'm going to tell you. 
It's about Albert Steinhardt. That shook 
me up even more, and I thought what if 
Al was embezzling company funds, or 
selling blueprints to the Russians, it 
didn't square with what I knew of him, 
and then I realized I didn't know much 
about him at all, just that he had worked 
for F&H for twenty-some years, ten of 
them in South Africa as construction 
supervisor on our mining project. 

When he came over here in '79 and 
started working for me, I got word that 
the company had investigated a few 
incidents on the site involving Al and 
some of the Africans who worked for 
him, apparently a couple of them got 
killed in some accident or other and 
there was trouble. But I didn't give it a 
second thought, because in the end, Al 
was cleared. And like I said, I never had 
any reason to doubt his competence. 

Layton was a bald, fat guy whose suit 
didn't fit him right. A pretty nervous 
customer, too, always mopping his brow 
and looking around like he suspected 
everyone in the place. He didn't calm 
down until I took him upstairs to a 
private booth. He started out with a lot of 
vague hints about how certain people 
had been looking for Al Steinhardt for a 
long time and they had almost caught up 
with him, and I should privately 
persuade him to take early retirement, it 
could be arranged for him to leave the 
country and avoid any embarrassing 
situation. Now hold it, I said to him, I'm 
missing something here, Al Steinhardt is 
a highly respected employee in good 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



31 



mnem Quilt 

THE MAGAZINE OF 
INTERNALIZED AUTHORITY 



V0LUME1,N0.3 

ARTICLES 

The Hidden Cost of 

Unfinished Assignments p. 4 

Top Management Suffers More 

Than You Know p. 9 

What Losing Your Job Will Do 

To Mom and Dad p. 28 

Are You Paid More Than You Deserve? p. 28 
How You May Have Contributed to the 

Dip in Quarterly Earnings! p. 52 

FEATURES 

Spotlight on Your "J obligations" p.9 

Reading Your Boss ' Mind p. 17 

Agonizing Reappraisals of Your 

Performance: How To Make Them More 
Effective p. 33 

HOMELIFE 

Would Rex Have Lived If You 'd Kept 

Him ON The Leash That Day? p. 12 

Missing That Bus — Your Fault? p. 57 

Self Sacrifice As A Way of Life p. 15 

How' To Be A More Accepting Person ... p. 24 



APRIL 1986 






standing, he's not the type to run away 
just because a few people want to talk to 
him. 

Then Layton drop^ jd the bomb, 
Albert Steinhardt's real name is Rudolf 
Hartstein, he worked in a concentration 
camp for two years, we have a whole file 
on what he did there, you can see for 
yourself if you don't believe me. He 
threw this big folder on the table. 1 
downed my drink like so and asked him, 
are you sure you haven't confused him 
with somebody else, after all, that was a 
long time ago. When Layton heard that, 
he leaned closer and whispered, there 



by Louis Mlchaelson 

can't be any mistake, Steinhardt worked 
tor us after the war. Imagine this, 
George, our government cut a deal with 
him, in exchange for some information. 
They gave him a new identity, flew him 
to the U.S at public expense, found him 
a job in the Justice Department, and 
when he got tired of that they talked to 
F&H and got him an entry-level 
engineering position. 

While Layton babbled about how 
inuch of an asset Al was in the battle 
against Communism, I looked through 
that file, and I couldn't believe it was Al 
they were talking about. For instance, it 



seems that every morning, Al would give 
the inmates what he called an anatomy 
lesson. At roll-call, he'd pick somebody 
out and slowly, right in front of every- 
body, break every bone in the poor guy's 
body. While he did that he'd give a 
speech about the purpose of each bone, 
and when he was finished he'd drag his 
victim, dead or alive, off to the furnaces 
to be turned into soap. 

I couldn't shake Layton loose, he was 
drunk and going on about how both of us 
were in this together and I'd better play 
ball because otherwise he could make it 
lough for me. Finally, I promised him I'd 
do what I could to move things along and 
I'd get back to him when it was all over. 
Then I went to the garage, got my car, 
and drove home stone cold sober. 

I don't know if I ever told you about 
my Uncle Phil. He used to come over 
every Sunday when I was a kid and play 
baseball, football, what have you, and 
tell me stories, an all-around great guy. 
When my dad told me he'd been killed in 
France, it was like the whole world had 
collapsed Well, that night, I dreamt 
about him 1 was ten years old again, and 
he was his old self, telling jokes, playing 
catch. We were having a great time, 
when all of a sudden he turned into a 
skeleton, his uniform was hanging from 
his bones, and he was grinning at me. 
We weren't in my family's back yard 
anymore, but in some forest with dead 
bodies all over the place, and it was 
raining hard. I tried to run away, but 1 
slipped and fell headfirst in the mud. I 
was choking on blood and dirt, and 
before I suffocated I could hear him 
cackling, "Who won the war. Hank?" 

Now look at me, I'm so far gone I'm 
telling you my dreams. That calls for 
another drink. Another one, waiter. Any- 
how, you can bet I didn't sleep that 
night. I went to work wishing that every- 
thing would just disappear, that Al 
would get a heart attack driving down 
the freeway or something and save me 
the trouble of talking to him. But in the 
end I didn't need to worry about hurting 
his feelings. Al had been tipped off the 
night before, probably by Layton, who I 
guess didn't trust me, so when he came 
into my office he was completely at ease 
and I was the one who was nervous. 

He said that although he deplored a 
great company like F&H bowing to 
outside pressure, he was prepared to 
retire and leave the country if need be. 
However, as a small token for all his 
years of service, since he felt he had at 
least five more years of work in him, he 
would appreciate me writing him a good 
recommendation to a company in South 
Africa that had once expressed interest 
in bringing him on board. He put his 
fingertips together and smiled, by the 
way, Mr. Meyers, it certainly wouldn't 
look good if 1 disappeared from the firm 



32 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



with my help. I was afraid my ulcers 
were going to start acting up again if I 
didn't calm down, so I told myself that 
the sooner Al was out of my life the 
better I'd be able to do my job, and 
before I knew it I'd written his recom- 
mendation and a memo to all division 
managers requesting their presence at a 






','vj MEMO TO: 

COPIES TO: 



supervision 
Tishman Buii 

Employees 



DATE: ^^ugust 1. 



1985 



FROM: 



^V^--onrcroul 
operations 



___ ZZrv^ PROCEDURES 

,,SHM.. BUX.OXKC SECURITV 



"^,«aECT- TISHMAN BOILDIN. 
SUBJECi- ^^ center nave ^^j-qI. 

h^^^ '''■na need, how^^^'^Lving the next step 
continuing ne^^^^ m taking 

Your help i^ • n he added to " 

,s-lav procedure wxU b|^ e^urejsj 

body search J -^^try, ^nd non ^^^ ^^^ p^ace 

support, da" ^ any timt: After all. ai ^^^ 

lub'ect to search ^ ^^^^ ^„p, yees-^/^ ^^^avior m 



1 although 
building 






apologize to anyone for the work we do. 
Another guy got up and said I under- 
stand you're moving to South Africa, 
well, good luck, Mr. Steinhardt, and 
remember, make sure the natives don't 
get too restless on you. 

It was my turn to speak, and I didn't 
do too badly considering that my insides 
were turning over so much I couldn't 
enjoy the food. I wanted to say what was 
on my mind, but I didn't want anybody 
to think I'd gone off the deep end. And 
one look at old man Hagen was enough 
to make me lose my nerve, I had to make 
a good impression on him because I was 
due for a performance evaluation. So I 
went ahead and said all the right things, 
and Al looked genuinely moved. He tried 
to say a few words, but his voice broke 
halfway through and he couldn't go on. 
Old man Hagen proposed a toast to Al as 
an example of personal dedication to 
excellence. After that, everybody fell 
over each other trying to shake Al's 
hand, and when they started singing For 
He's a Jolly Good Fellow, the roof almost 
caved in. And you know something, 
George? The more I applauded, the 
better I felt. 

You think I'm a coward, don't you, 
George. But what good would it have 
done to call Al Steinhardt a Nazi killer in 
front of my associates? God knows every 
night I wake up seeing my uncle's face, I 
have to drink myself to sleep and that's 
playing Russian roulette with my health. 
But I'm a businessman, I can't let my 
emotions get the upper hand. Look at it 
this way, thanks to us, Al Steinhardt 
became a productive member of society. 
My dad used to say, what's done is done 
and if you keep looking back you won't 
see what's in front of you, or something 
like that. Anyway, Al's ancient history 
and I shouldn't have to worry about him. 

Jesus, George, I think I've told you too 
much. Forget everything I said, it's off 
the record. I don't feel well and I'm not 
thinking straight. I say the damn'dest 
things after a few snootfuls. I just want 
to forget about what happened. You 
understand, don't you, George? Tell you 
what, I don't want you to leave empty- 
handed, so how about writing something 
on Al's replacement? He's joining us 
next week, and frankly, I'm tickled to 
have him on our team. His name's 
Leonel Rodriguez, a real can-do guy 
from El Salvador with top-level contacts 
in the government and armed forces. He 
promised us an inside track on anything 
we want to do down there, which is 
fantastic, because that's virgin territory 
for Farnham and Hagen. Now there's a 
slory that's bound to have a happy 
ending. Let's drink to that, okay? 



-by Christopher Winks 



33 









ver 50 years ago, the Venereal Disease branch of 
the Pubhc Health Service began to study the 
effects of syphilis on a group of poor, illiterate 
Black men in Alabama. [1] Throughout the study the 
men were denied any treatment for the disease in order 
to gather evidence for the medical superstition that 
syphilis affected races differently. These men were 
never told what they had, nor did they consent to be part 
of the experiment. They participated only because they 
thought they were getting free treatment for "bad 
blood," a folksy catch-all for a variety of ailments. The 
researchers — medical doctors — never told the men they 
had syphilis, only "bad blood." 

The researchers allowed the men to deteriorate. Some, 
of course, died. The study, begun in 1932, went on for 40 
years. During this long period the men, not knowing 
what they had, spread syphilis to their spouses, who 
passed it in childbirth to their children. Although 
penicillin began to be widely used in the 1940s for the 
treatment of syphilis, it was denied the men in this 
study. 



In the mid-1960s a young employee of the Division of 
Venereal Disease Control blew the whistle, and in 1972 
the study was shut down. 

The experiment was clearly unethical. The researchers 
had not obtained informed consent from the subjects of 
the study, who were denied therapy. The researchers 
lied to the men about their condition and 'treatment.' 

Researchers, however, continue to conduct unethical 
— and even more gruesome and lethal — experiments. At 
the Head Injury Clinical Research Center at the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, doctors studied the effects of head 
injuries on unwilling patients. As part of the study, these 
doctors plastered the heads of their unanesthetized 
patients to a machine which delivered blows as great as 
1 ,000 times the force of gravity. The experiments, begun 
in the early 1970s, were stopped only in May 1984 when 
a concerned group, intending to expose this atrocity, 
broke into the center and stole videotapes of the experi- 
ments which the researchers had made as records of 
their work. The National Institute of Health, which had 
funded these experiments with public money, suspended 
its grant; research in the lab was suspended indefinitely. 

But this experiment differs significantly — perhaps — 
from the syphilis study: the subjects in the latter experi- 
ments were nonhuman animals, baboons. 

Between 60 and 200 million animals are "sacrificed" 
every year to scientific research. For over a decade, a 
growing animal welfare movement, with half a million 
active members, has opposed the systematic slaughter 
and mistreatment of research animals. Much of this 
research is unnecessary, conducted by a priestly class of 
biomedical researchers who have a financial interest and 
ideology to protect. But ihe ethics of animal research is a 
complicated subject; there are no hard and fast rules for 
. determining the acceptability of animal research. What 
is clear, however, is that there should be more public 
control over animal experimentation. 

[1] See Martin P Levme's review in New York Native (3/28/83) of 
James H. Jones Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (The 
Free Press, 1981). 

PROCESSED WORLD #16 




What Researchers Have at Stake 

Though some may consider animal 
advocates to be on the lunatic fringe of 
the civil rights movement, research- 
ers, having much at risk, take the 
animal welfare movement seriously. 

• Research institutions have a finan- 
cial interest to protect. Every year, 
they get over a billion dollars for bio- 
medical research, mostly from federal 
revenues. More than half of this 
research uses animals. 

• Animal research, though funded 
with public money for the public good, 
is out of public control. Researchers 
follow guidelines established by the 
leading funder of animal research. 
Because this puts the wolf in charge of 
the chickens, animal advocates pro- 
pose that the lay public participate in 
animal research decision-making. 

• Researchers are fighting for their 
ideology. They believe that through 
animal research they will find ways to 
improve human health. But many 
people have come to see science and 
scientific technology as inhuman, ab- 
stract, regimenting, even diabolical. 

Science, like every other ideology, is 
based on ultimate beliefs or assump- 
tions about the Cosmos. Believers in 
science expect to gain control over the 
Cosmos through the systematic acqui- 
sition of knowledge. This knowledge is 
used to control former mysteries, such 
as atoms, genes, energy, disease, etc. 
But the benefits accrued through 
scientific enquiry have opened a 
pandora's box of such awesome ills 



and responsibilities that more and 
more people have come to doubt that 
science can fulfill its promise. Sup- 
posed "wonder drugs" have proved 
harmful, even lethal. Genetic engi- 
neering threatens us with terrible 
social regimentation. And nuclear 
science has equipped us with powers 
that are perhaps beyond our moral 
capability, etc. etc. The result of this 
dilemma is an ideological confronta- 
tion, of which one of the chief battle- 
fields is animal research. 

Animal Liberation? 

Animal welfare groups go back to 
the 19th century. But today's renewed 
animal advocacy was boosted by the 
publication in 1975 of Animal Libera- 
tion: A New Etiiic for Our Treatment of 
Animals by Australian philosopher, 
Peter Singer. This book attempted to 
extend to animals the civil rights 
concerns of the 1960s. 

Also contributing to the new animal 
advocacy was the ecological ethic, 
popularized in the 1960s, that we must 
live in harmony with our environment 
and fellow animals; that we are not 
masters of, but participants in Nature. 
Campaigns to save whales and baby 
seals brought attention to Man's 
inhumanity to animals. The extinction 
of many species because of Man's 
insensitivity awakened people to the 
precariousness of nonhuman life on 
Earth. The horrible condition of 
animals in factory farms also had a 
significant but smaller effect on 
popular consciousness; the plight of 



beef cattle, dairy cows, egg-layers, 
fryers, and pigs drew some people to 
vegetarianism and animal advocacy. 

This is the social context for the 
vigorous animal welfare movement of 
today. The movement is large and 
growing, but it is divided both over 
philosophy — between those who want 
to end all animal research and those 
who only want more restrictions; and 
over tactics — between those who ad- 
vocate direct action, such as liberating 
animals from labs, and those who 
support legislative reform. 

Animal advocates attack the validity 
of biomedical research, asserting that 
the use of animals is cruel, immoral, 
and unnecessary for the advancement 
of medical science. They point to new 
techniques, involving computers and 
in vitro cultures, which sometimes 
provide alternatives to using animals 
in research. (Unfortunately, as re- 
searchers point out, these alternatives 
are often unworkable. The complexity 
of living systems makes it impossible 
to explore, explain or predict the 
course of many diseases or the effects 
of many treatments without observing 
and testing entire living organisms.) 

Most news of the animal welfare 
movement has focused on direct action 
raids on labs, where activists have 
"liberated" animals and gathered 
evidence of cruelty. The Animal 
Liberation Front, the most visible 
direct action group, has been effective 
in suspending or interrupting research 
at several institutions since the early 
1980s. Some animal advocates point to 
what they consider to be the positive 
results of Animal Liberation Front 
raids: 

• Animal use in research at the 
University of Pennsylvania and the 
City of Hope has been halted. 

• It has been shown that researchers 
were lying when they stated labora- 
tories were humane and current regu- 
lations were adequate to protect 
animals. 

• Animal rights have gained national 
media exposure, 

• There has been increased support 
for other animal rights groups. 

• Because of the climate of fear, 
research institutions are spending 
more money on security and lobbying, 
thereby reducing the funds available 
for research. 

But radical animal activism is not 
always rational or consistent. In 
support of animal rights, some have 
phoned death threats to researchers or 
burned them in effigy. "Liberation" 
has even resulted in injury to some lab 
animals. Animal liberation literature 
features gruesome pictures and verbal 
descriptions of animal research, sug- 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



3S 



gesting an unwholesome attraction to 
animal mutilation. 

A major part of animal advocacy 
focuses on the use of nonhuman 
primates (apes and monkeys) in 
research. The primate controversy 
exploded in 1981 with the "monkey 
trial" of Dr. Edward Taub. 

At the Institute for Behavioral 
Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, 
Taub was using monkeys to devise 
new methods of rehabilitating the 
crippled limbs of human stroke 
victims. In his experiment, Taub took 
newborn monkeys from their mothers 
and severed the sensory nerves 
leading from the spinal cord to one 
forelimb. He then observed how the 
animals coordinated basic movements 
without the benefit of any feeling in 
the crippled limb — a condition ex 
perienced by many human stroke 
victims. 

An animal rights activist, hoping to 
expose these experiments as abusive 
and cruel, invited independent experts 
to the lab while Taub was away. They 
were appalled by what they saw: piles 
of feces, cramped cages, very poor 
ventilation. Some animals had bitten 
off their fingers and wore bandages 
caked with blood. 

Taub was indicted under Maryland's 
animal cruelty laws, his NIH grant was 
suspended, and police seized his 
animals. He was convicted of cruelty to 
animals and fined $-5,000; he also 
incurred over $250,000 in legal fees. 
Bui in 1983, after two appeals, he was 
acquitted of all crimes. 

Another case celebrated the cause of 
two chimpanzees, Nim and Ally 
Chimpsky, who had been taught sign 
language. When the animals were 
retired from this program, they were 
transferred to small cages and used in 
a university's hepatitis tests. A prima- 
tologist who later came to visit the 
chimps saw them signing, "Out, out!" 
and public reaction won their release. 

In 1983, an incident at University of 
California-San Francisco made head- 
lines across the country. The UCSF lab 
of Dr. Steve Lisberger was raided. The 
director of Lifeforce Foundation, a 
Canada-based animal protection or- 
ganization, had let himself into Lis- 
berger's lab where two primates 
named "Beau" and "Captain " were 
caged. Photographs were taken of the 
two animals and released to the press, 
with charges that Lisberger had 
tortured them. 

The monkeys were subjects of 
experiments on the neural control of 
eye movement. As part of these 
experiments, "Beau," "Captain" and 
three unnamed primates had elec- 
trodes implanted in their brains, metal 
devi'.es bolted to their skulls, and 



magnetic coils implanted behind their 
eyes with wire running under their 
skin to screws located in the tops of 
their heads. They had been deprived 
of food and water for "behavioral 
training" and were kept standing in 
restraining devices for two to five 
days. The research protocol stated 
they mig'-'i be kept in restraint for 
many weeks without a break. 

UCSF's "Animal Care Committee" 
(whose members were chosen by the 
campus — most of whom were finan- 
cially connected to the campus) 
reviewed and dismissed the allega- 
tions of torture. 

The Public Relations War 

Animal protectionists have also 
lobbied legislators. In the aftermath of 
the Taub case, and during the review 
of Lisberger's experiments, California 
State Senator David Roberti twice 



introduced a bill to prevent pounds 
trom turning dogs and cats over to 
research centers. There was strong 
public support for the bill: people 
feared that a pet, raised to trust 
people, might end up in gruesome 
experiments like those at UCSF or 
Taub's lab. Earlier in 1983 the 
Massachusetts legislature had passed 
a, similar bill prohibiting pound- 
seizure. 

The reaction of UCSF to the Roberti 
legislation illustrates the research 
institution's power and fear. Like all 
biomedical research institutions, 
UCSF depends on pounds for a cheap 
supply of dogs — about 1,200 per year. 
Money to buy animals comes from the 
researcher's grant. If UCSF were 
forced to raise dogs for research, they 
estimated they would have to pay 
$1,000 per dog, whereas a pound dog 
is a bargain at $120 or less. (Many 
pounds which offer dogs as pets to the 




36 



PROCESSED WORLD «16 



public for about $25 will not sell dogs 
to research institutions.) Raising their 
own lab dogs would force UCSF to cut 
back their animal research and would 
jeopardize their ability to get grants. 

To fight the Roberti bill, UCSF and 
nearby Stanford University staged a 
joint press conference, featuring pe- 
diatric patients and their parents. 
UCSF organized a similar presence 
before the San Francisco Board of 
Supervisors at a meeting to consider 
supporting the Roberti bill. Both were 
slick presentations, orchestrated by 
the universities' public relations per- 
sonnel (UCSF's public relations office 
is one of the few campus departments 
not required to stay within its budget). 
Public officials in both cases were 
persuaded that humane animal re- 
search was necessary to maintain the 
health of Americans. For the time 
being. Senator Roberti withdrew his 
bill 



Research organizations feared a domi- 
no effect. "The universities in the 
Massachusetts area did not fight their 
'no pound dog' bill," said UCSF public 
relations director, Michella Reichman, 
"because they had been told it would be 
a limited approach just to protect pets, 
and if they defeated that, the state would 
come back with much worse. But the 
week after it passed, the New England 
Anti-vivisection Society filed ten new 
anti-research animal bills — including 
one that states no new live animal may 
be used in the state for research, experi- 
mentation, testing, demonstration, or 
instruction..." 

UCSF joined other research institu- 
tions to establish an umbrella organiza- 
tion called California Biomedical Re- 
search Association, which hired a large 
Los Angeles public relations firm, 
Cerrell, to devise a statewide public 
relations campaign. 



t^cee -To -js^^RK v\o>ix '^'TT^' ^^^ >'^ 



^^m\S3SmW 







With steps like this, honest discussion 
of animal welfare ends. Both researchers 
and animal advocates are now engaged 
in a public relations war, battling for the 
hearts and minds of the uncommitted 
public and obscuring the debate behind 
propaganda. Researchers have stressed 
the need to convince school children that 
animal research is necessary to health. 
Both sides are trying to manipulate our 
sympathies. At press conferences, re- 
searchers present cute blonde girls who 
have benefited from animal research, 
while animal advocates print in their 
promotional material pictures of muti- 
lated animals next to furry kittens, who 
ask, "Will we be next?" 

It's completely inappropriate that the 
context for this discussion of moral 
issues be a public relations campaign. 
Animal research is not a public relations 
problem but an important moral prob- 
lem. 



Return to the Discussion Table 

! propose to address three questions 
here, and to follow with practical 
proposals: 

• What is the moral status of animals? 

• Is animal research justified by the 
benefits accrued to Man or not-Man? 

• What are the conditions of research 
in a democratic society? 

It is morally unacceptable in our 
society to inflict pain out of cruelty. 
When a researcher confines an animal, 
or deprives an animal of fellowship, or 
inflicts pain, he does so not because he is 
cruel, but— one hopes — to improve 
medical care and knowledge. With such 
a goal, confining, depriving and hurting 
animals is morally justified. 

No longer is such a moral trade-off 
allowed for research on human beings. 
The ethics of research on human animals 
was the big medical debate of the 1960s 
and 1970s, fueled, it should be noted, by 
unconscionable abuses of human sub- 
jects, as in the Alabama syphilis study. 
This debate has subsided since the 
establishment of Institutional Review 
Boards which oversee human experi- 
ments, ensuring that informed consent is 
obtained from human subjects prior to 
experimentation. 

Supposedly human beings are su- 
perior to other animals because we alone 
can think; we are aware of ourselves as 
subjects in the world; we plan for the 
future. But fetuses, infants, the coma- 
tose, the senile, and the mentally 
retarded are also accorded human 
rights, though they lack these "uniquely 
human" qualities. 

Perhaps we recognize the human 
rights of infants, the comatose, the 
senile, and the mentally retarded 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



37 




because they are related to the rest of us 
who enjoy the fullest of human qualities; 
they are our sons and daughters, 
brothers and sisters, mothers and 
fathers, friends, lovers and neighbors. 

But animals, too, are related, ana- 
tomically and psychologically, to Man; 
else they would be little use to 
researchers 

Researchers themselves feel the need 
for some restrictions on the use of 
animals in experiments. The question 
is — where to draw the line, and why? 
Researchers have hit upon the following 
general criteria for animal research: 

Does the potential good justify the use 
of an animal in an experiment? Will the 
research yield fruitful results which 
cannot be obtained by other means? Is 
the research necessary^ Are we pre- 
pared to terminate an experiment when- 
ever its continuation may result in 
unnecessary suffering to an animal? 
[Former NIhl Deputy Director Thomas E. 
Malone, 1978]. 

But "necessary" and "unnecessary," 
like "potential good" and "fruitful 
results," are vague criteria — and any 
definition they may have comes from the 
researcher's point of view. What we 
need to do is scrutinize the "fruitful 
results" of animal research— of, in fact, 
research in general. 

Our dependence on animal research 
illustrates a peculiar one-sidedness of 
our Western culture. One might almost 
think that, were biomedical research 
stopped, people would begin to sicken 



and die. The fact is, death and sickness 
are part of life, and researchers for all 
their claims have not changed this 
ultimate fact. Ours is one of the few 
cultures that does not recognize the 
normalcy, and value, of death. Out of 
fear of our own deaths, we go to absurd 
extremes, denying the fact of death and 
disease. In fact, biomedical "advances" 
often merely prolong dying to avoid 
death, without considering the quality of 
life that is "rescued." 

A case in point was Baby Fae, born in 
October 1984 with a genetic defect, 
hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which 
left her with half a heart and no chance 
to live. Dr. Leonard Bailey of Loma Linda 
University Medical Center in Southern 
California transplanted the heart of a 
sacrificed baboon into the infant; she 
was the fourth human and the first infant 
to undergo such an operation. 

She lived 20 days. 

There was no basis for belief that such 
an experiment would benefit Baby Fae, 
her parents, or anyone else (except, 
possibly. Dr. Bailey, who gained publi- 
city). Had Baby Fae lived even a few 
years, her parents would have lost not a 
baby but a child. In short, the experi- 
ment extended her vital signs, not her 
life. Yet Dr. Bailey was not a kook 
experimenlor, but a respected profes- 
sional and a member of the California 



According to general research criteria, 
the baboon that gave its life for Baby Fae 
did not suffer "unnecessarily," because 
an infant's life was "saved." A similar 
rationale supposedly justified human 
slavery: pro-slavery Americans not only 
pointed to the advantages accrued to 
(White) society through slavery, but 
argued that slaves themselves benefited 
from the civilizing effect of this country 
and its Christian religion. 

This perspective on research may 
distress people with AIDS, cancer, or 
other diseases. Of course, people will 
and should seek remedies for their 
afflictions. For a person with AIDS a 
cure or a treatment would be a real 
benefit. Animal research may have 
answers or clues to our questions about 
AIDS. (Researchers are currently study- 
ing AIDS in nonhuman primates.) 

But people with AIDS do not control 
AIDS research. Researchers decide 
whether a vaccine — which may be a 
more lucrative and prestigious break- 
through—is more important than treat- 
ments or cures. Researchers increasing- 
ly point to the AIDS dilemma in defense 
of animal research. Unfortunately, as 
long as researchers alone control AIDS 
research, how can the public evaluate 
their progress? A case in point is the 
AIDS antibody test — the result of such 
research — which is useless to people 



Biomedical Research Association 




38 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



who want to know if they have AIDS and 
dangerous in the hands of a panicked 
public. 

The polio vaccine, developed 30 years 
ago, is another result of animal research, 
one of which researchers are particularly 
proud. But researchers are quiet about 
the tool of this vaccine on animals — for 
example, the 1.5 million monkeys used 
in polio research. 

(This 1.5 million, plus another 25,000 
used yearly in the US alone, has deci- 
mated the wild monkey population and 
has helped to put several species on the 
endangered list. Added to the nonhuman 
primates killed in research are those who 
die in trapping, shipping and storage — a 
fate that awaits as many as 70% of the 
wild primates destined for research.) 

Who enjoys the benefits of biomedical 
research? Not the starving populations 
of the world who lack even basic medical 
care or the kind of health that comes 
from a wholesome diet. Biomedical 
researchers primarily study the diseases 
of centralized, industrial civilization — 
the effects of toxic exposures, stress, 
automobilization, warfare, occupational 
hazards, etc. Thus, much animal re- 
search is used to ameliorate the 
symptoms of our society without study- 
ing the disease itself: modern civiliza- 
tion. This bias is clear in a color 
brochure, produced by the Calif. Bio- 
medical Research Assoc, on the role of 
animal research in fighting occupational 
diseases; 

Is animal research still needed^... 
Unquestionably yes. Approximately WOO 
new chemicals are synthesized each year 
and modern technology uses chemicals 
in previously unimagined ways. By law, 
we must protect people from the 
potentially toxic effects of these chemi- 
cals through testing with animals. 

There is no hint in this promotional 
material that the need for these new 
chemicals should be proved before their 
potentially toxic effects are tested on 
animals. 

Some people reduce the issue of 
animal research to a simple question: 
Are animals to be valued as much as 
people? Some people are instantly and 
absolutely certain that the answer is no. 
Others take the opposite view with as 
much certainty. I hesitate to answer 
definitively in either direction. But I 
think we should question the assumption 
(which after all is but a product of our 
age and culture) that there is a clear 
dividing line between people and 
animals. The Hindu, among others, do 
not recognize so clear a line. Someone 
may dangle a tadpole and ask, "Woyld 
you really not sacrifice this to save a little 
girl's life?" But animal experimentation 
never involves such simplistic questions. 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



Such questions may call forth philosophi- 
cal but not practical answers. 

Animal rights can, of course, be taken 
to absurd extremes. Do human beings 
have the right to keep animals as pets? 
Should we prevent animals from killing 
each other? Instead of following the 
issue into absurdity, it is wise to 
acknowledge the limits of human ethics 
and to avoid absurd extremes. 

Practical Proposals 

The ethics of animal research is an 
important question. Even more impor- 
tant, however, is the question of how 
animal research proposals and results 
are evaluated. I am biased against 
research as it is currently conducted. But 
I believe that, in a democratic society, 
research may be permitted to continue if 
the citizenry so decide. In the US, 
however, the apparatus for that process 
of decision-making is rusted and inef- 
fectual. Washington allocates the funds. 
In California, we may vote for the person 
who picks the person who picks the 
people who allocate the funds — but this 
seems designed especially to thwart 
democratic participation. 

Research institutions across the coun- 
try claim they have ended animal abuse 
in the laboratory by establishing animal 
care committees. But the institutions 
themselves choose the committee mem- 



bers; and although NIH guidelines 
require them to choose a lay member 
not connected with the institution, this is 
hardly enough. 

The NIH guidelines, which the 
committees follow, need to be examined. 
The SPCA is a moderate animal welfare 
organization. However, responding to 
the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 
San Francisco SPCA President Richard 
Avanzino had this to say about his 
organization's ability to monitor animal 
research at UCSF: 

We can report that UCSF researchers, 
in general, are following procedures 
which meet all existing codes, ordinan- 
ces, and regulations. These findings, 
however, do not mean that what we have 
found is adequate as perceived through 
the eyes of a humane society dedicated 
to preventing cruelty to animals. We 
believe, in a better world, much of the 
animal experimentation could be radical- 
ly reduced — minimizing the extent to 
which animals must suffer In the name of 
science. 

If we were given the power to 
restructure the system, far greater 
emphasis would be placed on the 
pulolic's right to scrutinize what is 
happening. Opportunities for public 
debate on the public policy questions 
would be provided, so that the citizenry 
could exert far greater controls over if, 
when, and how an animal would be 





forced to suffer or give up its life for 
humankind. 

The basic flaw in animal research is 
the process by which protocols are 
evaluated. Nothing justifies Washington 
in establishing a single mandatory 
standard for the entire country. The 
danger is evident in the current 
situation, in which a bad standard is 
everywhere followed. It makes better 
sense for advocates of every camp, such 
as NIH and Lifeforce and the SPCA, to 
suggest standards, but to leave local 
decisions to local communities. 

Further, animal care committees are 
currently a sham. Until they are repre- 
sentative of the whole community — in- 
cluding those who are active and 
respected in the animal welfare move- 
ment and those who seek remedy for a 
disease or condition which affects 
them — their approval of research proto- 
cols is insignificant. 

Communities must take an active 
interest in the research taking place 
within them, ensuring that all research 
carried out on animals is published in 
detail and collected for the use of all 
researchers. This is vital so as to 
minimize duplication and waste in 
animal experimentation. In the scientific 
community, the rule is publish or perish. 
But scientific publications reject re- 
search results they deem insignificant, 



allowmg unnecessary duplication of 
animal research. (Another problem is 
that military research involving animals 
may be classified as not to be published.) 

Nor is it enough to leave research to 
professional researchers in windowless 
labs behind locked doors and barbed 
wire. Only an informed community can 
make wise decisions about protocol. 
Televised animal research could be an 
eye-opening educational service. 

Biomedical research is not a cure for 
our diseased culture. As old diseases 
succumb to our increasing knowledge, 
we make ourselves vulnerable to dis- 
eases which never before disturbed us. 
All life is bound by this inevitability of 
death. Traditional religions recognize 
this truism by admonishing people to put 
their faith in something eternal, whether 
it be their soul, their children, their 
community, or their other creations. But 
the medical advancements of the past 
several hundred years have made us ask 
just how far humankind might push itself 
beyond the limits it once considered to 
be natural. Since the beginning of the 
scientific revolution we have extended 
the human lifespan only a decade. 
Perhaps now the novelty of these 
achievements is wearing off, for the gain 
may not have been greater than the loss. 



-by Tony Lamantia 



EPISCOPAL SANCTUARY POEM 

Checker plastic tablecloths 

Cots with green cushions beneath 
high gymnasium lites 

Lady pregnant, man with AIDS, 
girl with rosary, woman 
reading playboy, oatmeal 
with raisins for breakfast 



I wish he'd shine his light on 
me once in a mofuh while, 
says the man down the way 

Green & brown & tan & white, 

people intermingling in shades 
of misery to desperate ecstasy 

Budding romances try to abound 
if only the 2nd party felt 
like cooperating with him 

Six jumbo jets took off she says 
An' her mama always told her to 
answer the door with a shotgun 

Is it a mean world out there? 



—Colette, rainy winter '85-86 



40 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



A, 




ressures of the Assembly lin 




Question 




when does a mere 


on wooden pallets 


slice of 


the kind that look 


human behavior 


a little like the decks 


take on the compression 


of ships 


formality 


that wash up in pieces 


and impact 


on beaches 


of a work of art 






Sonny's job was 


Answer 


both routine 


when it becomes visible 


and difficult 


against the flat backdrop 




of history 


You didn't just 


with the clarity 


lift and toss 


of (say) 


you had to pick 


the sky-arc 


up each crate 


of a bird in flight 


of bottles 


over water 


with the care you'd 


around twilight on 


use in holding 


some perfect 


a newborn baby 


summer night 


and as delicately 




lay it back 


Maybe some night 


down again 


in Appalachia 




with plant whistles 


The crates weighed 


lonesome 


over a hundred 


in the red-sky 


pounds apiece 


distance 


there was a precise 




and demanding 


Take the behavior on March 16 1985 


quota 


of Mansel (Sonny) Hamlett 


of repetitious lifts 


a man of 39 


to be performed 


who worked in 


like others 


a glass factory 


in his department 


in southwestern Pennsylvania 


Sonny worked 




under ever 


Sonny was a quiet 


vigilant eyes 


competent 


of efficiency 


reclusive worker 


analysts 


known mostly for being 


foremen and 


very protective of his wife 


supervisors 




seven days 


They worked the same 


twenty-four 


afternoon shift 


hours 


in the giant 


Anchor 


Anchor Glass plant 


produced glass 




bottles for soda 


Sonny made 


beer 


nine dollars an hour 


whiskey 


loading crates 


and baby food 


of glass bottles 




PROCESSED WORLD 116 





The strain 

on Sonny 

caused by 

nonstop 

on-the-job 

pressure 

to exceed 

his mental 

and physical 

limits 

resembled 

in many respects 

the stress on Anchor Glass 

to overproduce 

in an industry 

doomed 

by plastics 

and 

by foreign 

competition 

Like a canny dinosaur 

that had survived 

the ice age 

but now faced 

something 

much worse 

Anchor was one of those 

few remaining 

domestic 

manufacturers 

still trying to beat 

the future 

at its own game 

two years earlier 

the company 

had been on the ropes 

new owners 

had brought in 

efficiency experts 

who'd instituted 

quality controls 

"speed-up" 

production quotas 

and stringent 

disciplinary rules 

the workload was huge 

the pressure 

on the workfloor 

enormous 



41 




"^ "^ f=f f=l 



n n 



Lhliijlljhll: 




March 16 

a Saturday morning 

during her workbreak 

Sonny Hamlett's wife 

Judith 

visited her husband 

at the loading dock 

where he was working 

he went on stacking crates 

they talked 

Sonny's foreman approached 

Sonny and his wife 

didn't notice 

him at first 

they were talking 

Sonny's foreman 
ordered her away 

Not long into 

the argument that ensued 

the foreman called a supervisor 

who suspended Sonny 

on the spot 

told him his job 

might be lost 

and sent him home 

Instead of going home 

Sonny left the plant 

and went out 

and bought 

100 rounds 

of ammunition 

for his 

.38 

caliber 

Smith & Wesson 

handgun 

What happened next 
was prompted 
by the moment 

Sonny was 

amok 

in Amerika 



He returned to Anchor Glass 

in the Quality Control 

office 

he found 

his foreman 

standing there 

before him 

The foreman's name 

was Donald Abbott 

he was forty-eight years old 

At the foreman's side 
was Sonny's 
supervisor 
Paul Gabelt 
a man of 52 

Right there in Quality Control 

Sonny shot them both 

in their foreheads 

fatally 

then he stopped 

to reload 

his boots 

lapped by 

trickles of 

managerial 

level blood 

the screens above 

his head 

reading out 

Self-Destruct 

the gadgetry shelves 

lined with 

video totems 

looking down 

angry but ineffectual 

all around him 

Sonny was ready 

to stomp on down the hall 

but then 

his wife appeared suddenly 

as if in a mist 

out of nowhere 

momentarily 



breaking into 

the Nicaraguan 

Invasion 

Killquake or 

whatever it was had come over 

Sonny's consciousness 

She was screaming 

Sonny saw only steam 

before his eyes 

he couldn't hear her 

the god had laid a net 

over him 

it was not a net over lovers 

he felt no love when 

she threw her arms 

around him 

Judith 

the human wife 
couldn't stop him 
at that moment 
and no goddess 
would step in to save 
Sonny now 
this mist closed 
in around him 

Sonny lived 

in a weak society 

he was its product 

just as obviously as the 

bottles in the crates 

all around him 

were products of Anchor Glass 

but he was a strong man 

at that moment 

his rancor 

was deep 

Seeing 

his wife 

unable to break into his dream 

his fellow workers 

rushed up 

and tried to get ahold of him 

but he scattered them off 



42 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



by firing some shots 

over their heads 

and walked on down the hall 

He found the 
department manager 
Ralph Tumaro, 52 
sitting in his office 
the quality 
control manager 
John Coligan, 
31 
was sitting there too 

Sonny killed 

them both 

in their swivel chairs 

with single 

shots 

the cool 

marksmanship 

of chaos 

was improving him 

as a navigator 

of his 

own 

fate 

and also shot 

in the chest 

another supervisor 

Richard Hosier, 38 

who just happened 

to be on hand 

at the moment 

Then he went 

looking 

for the plant manager 

his fellow 

workers 

yelling at him 

in a weirdly 

unintelligible 

language 

whenever 

he looked 

them 



in the eyes 


all around him now 


they 


the men 


dove 


and women 


for cover 


he'd worked with 


Sonny was 


for years were yelling 


isolated 


strange things out at him 


out there 




on the plateau 


He trembled with fear 


of his life 


his legs shook 




as he was pressing 


He'd created it for himself 


the .38 


he'd become an inventor of his 


against his chest 


own form 


and pulling the trigger 




he heard 


He felt 


the things they 


godlike 


were singing to him 




not the 


The landscape 


grateful praises 


kept changing 


one would shower upon 


as the moment 


a god 


kept swelling 


but instead the conflicted 


and expanding 


and deeply 




throat-twisted-inside-out 


Maybe in his 


shouts of lamentation 


imagination 


that might be uttered by a child 


Sonny could feel 


witnessing 


his cheekbones 


the murder of its parents 


being dusted 


by its sibling 


with that kind of 




airbrush paint 


Sonny went out of the world 


meant to 


listening 


simulate 


to this mixed message 


coal-black 


the apprehensive din 


under the eyes 


of a repressed 


of heroes 


existence 


in commando movies 


at once 




mourning 


He couldn't find 


and castigating 


the plant manager 


itself 


He came back 


The next day 


to the center 


the plant was back 


of the workfloor 


at full swing 


where he'd been 




stacking crates 


by Tom Clark 


of glass bottles 




only a few hours 




earlier 





PROCESSED WORLD #16 



43 



w 

a 
i 



t 




For 





Tosie was the prettiest girl in the 1960 high school 
senior class in Wheatville, California. We had our 

spot that we used to go to, down Hamilton Road 

up into the mountains, then under an old wooden bridge. 
I'd take her there in my old Ford, and we'd make love for 
hours. 

J osie knew how to take it. When she'd start screaming 
the first couple times, I'd get concerned but she'd stay, 
"Don't stop." 

Of course, after nine years, it's not like it used to be. 
And with our son Willie in the next bedroom, J osie can't 
scream anymore. 

There's times when a man is glad he's got a woman he 
can depend on. Times when the man is in some deep 
trouble. Like now. 

I'm sitting here accused of murder, my one-time best 
friend is lying dead, and I'm just waiting for Josie to 
come down to the Sheriff's station and get me out. 
Whatever little flaws she may have, she's always been a 
woman you could count on. 

We've had about as good a marriage as a man and a 
woman can have. The proof of this is that we're still 
together despite all the opposition we've had. 

The biggest strain was the three years we lived with 
her grandmother. The old lady was the most vile 
creature that ever lived. \ still remember her fault 
finding and criticism. She'd say to me, "Get off your fat 
ass and find a job. Stop expecting my granddaughter to 
support you." 

It was easy for her to bitch and moan. The fact is 
Wheatville is a farming community, and about the only 
work available is farm work. With me recovering from 
my bad back, it was just plain malice that she'd expect 
me to go find work. 

I knew we were in deep trouble with that 
fire-breathing dragon around. I saw what was coming. 
1 told Josie, "Let's put her in an old folks' home before 
she breaks up our marriage." 

"Hank Mitchell, in case you've forgotten, this 
happens to be her house that you're so eager to kick her 
out of. My grandmother raised me from the time I was 
six years old, and she's staying right here with us." 

Well, I endured grandmother for those three years, all 
the while having her carp on me for not working or 
accusing me of drinking too much and coming home late. 
I don't mind telling you I reached my limit. 

As time went on, her grandmother mellowed out and 
started to become forgetful. She got so she didn't always 
remember who we were, and she started to lose control 
of her functions. Josie would get her grandmother up in 
the morning. She'd cringe at the bed sheets and rush to 
get them in the washing machine. At the dinner table her 
grandmother sat with a string of saliva down the side of 
her mouth. She'd spill food all over herself. 

I convinced Josie one night she'd better have her 
grandmother sign the property over to her, what with the 
old woman being half crazy, so that when she died there 
wouldn't be a lot of inheritance tax and distant cousins 



44 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



coming out of the woodwork to claim an 
interest in the property. It took some 
convincing, but I'm always able to make 
that woman see logic. I had a lawyer 
draw up all the papers. 

Sometimes the old lady was as clear as 
a bell; sometimes she was a real loon. 
Josie approached her when she was 
lucid, and she cussed at us till her face 
was red, calling us a couple of thieves. 
Later we approached her when she was 
crazy and we told her she was signing for 
a subscription to a magazine. She signed 
away. 

Josie's biggest fault is she holds a 
grudge. She still holds it against me 
making her sell the house. It was a nice 
place: two stories, built solid as a 
fortress, a full-length front porch, a 
fireplace, three bedrooms and a big 
kitchen. It was a prime location for Josie 
and me. The beauty parlor where Josie 
worked was up the street, and the 
Southern Baptist Church we attended 
was two houses down. 

One day the Thompsons next door 
moved away, and their house was for 
sale six months. Finally the for-sale sign 
came down. I looked with mouth wide 
open at who was moving in. The people 
packing their furniture in were a family 
of coloreds. 





After I recovered from the shock of 
what Jim Thompson had done, I got on 
the phone and talked to my friend Otis, 
who's a real estate agent. Then I called 
out, "Josephina" — she knows I mean 
business when I call her by her full name 
— "start getting everyone packed. We're 
selling the house." 

Josie got kind of difficult. She says to 
me, "Hank, let's see what kind of people 
they are. Maybe we won't mind livin 
next to them." You see why I sometimes 
get exasperated with her. 

At first I thought we could talk it over 
like two intelligent people. Well, she got 
snotty and said, "Hank, this is my house 
now. I grew up here, and we're staying 
put. Just 'cause you're some kind of 
racist doesn't mean that I'm going to 
leave my house." 

"Honey, you know that ain't true, 
I certainly ain't no racist. Why one of my 
best buddies in high school was a 
Mexican guy, Xavier Hernandez. I even 
had Xavier over one night to meet my 
folks. But these Negro people is 
different. They can't live alongside white 
people." 

"My grandmother's sick. She's not up 
to moving." 

Well, this is just so typical of her 
grandmother to throw a monkey wrench 
into the works. 'Cod damn your grand- 
mother, she should have died years ago 
anyhow." Then Josie started bawling 
and saying I can move anytime I want 
but she was staying. 



I'm still grateful that my dad 
explained to me that a woman doesn't 
appreciate a man unless he shows her 
who's boss. It's kind of like showing he 
cares. Well, I figure at that time she was 
begging for it. Of course, I didn't really 
hit her hard, though the way she carried 
on afterwards, you think I'd almost killed 
her. 

The upshot was Otis Creen came out 
and appraised the place. Now, Otis is a 
real man of the world. He says to me, 
"Hank, you was real smart to get out 
when you did. This neighborhood is 
going to go to hell in three months — six 
months at the most. You're smart to sell 
now. If I could only convince the rest of 
your neighbors to do the same thing, 
they'd save themselves a lot of trouble." 

"Well, some of us understand these 
things, some of us don't." 

"Of course. Hank, you realize with the 
neighborhood going to hell the way it is, 



PROCESSED WORLD «16 



things ain't quite going for what they 
normally would. You understand, I 
hope." 

"Huh?" 

"Fact is, the most we could hope to 
sell your place for now would be about 
$5,000." 

"Now, Otis, that place is a $12,000 
house at least. Why 20 years ago her 
granddad paid more than $5,000 for it." 

"I know how you feel. When this 
happens to a neighborhood, prices just 
go to the basement. You almost can't 
give houses away. And the longer you 
hold off, the less you'll get for it." 

Otis got us a buyer right away. With 
the money we got from selling the house, 
we bought a new house several blocks 
away in another neighborhood. It was 
about half the size of our old one, with 
only two bedrooms. But it all worked out 
or the best, because there was no room 
for her grandmother in the new house, 
and the old lady had to go into the 
rest home. It took some real convincing 
that time, but I made her see my way. 

For years afterwards she threw it in 
my face that I made a big mistake, that 
the colored folks in the old Thompson 
place kept it up just as nicely as any of 
the other houses in the neighborhood, 
and that puttmg her grandmother in the 
rest home had caused her death four 
months later. That's the gratitude I got 
tor protecting her interest. I don't mind 
telling you I was miffed. 

Once she even got up the nerve to say, 
"I don't know why you're so afraid to 
live next to Negroes when you don't 
mind going out to see Rose Bankus." 
Naturaly I pretended I didn't know what 




she was talking about. 

What hurt me the most was she kept 
calling me a racist. I'm a churchgoing, 
Cod-fearing man. I may be a sinner in 
some ways, at least in the eyes of Cod, 
but I was really hurt over being called a 
racist. 

I was so troubled by this that I had to 
go to my friend and counselor, Reverend 
Harrison, the pastor of the First 
Southern Baptist Church in our old 
neighborhood. Now, Reverend Jeremy 
Harrison is about one of the finest men 
that ever walked this earth. He's a 
wonderful preacher. He can shout and 
thunder and his face gets filled with 
fury, and he makes you scared of going 
to hell, and then he smiles and tells you a 
joke about what an awful hat his wife just 
bought. 

Reverend Harrison was one of the first 
men in town to realize that the 
Communists had infiltrated the local 
schools. He convinced parents to send 
their children to school with a tape 
recorder so they could catch teachers in 
the act of spreading communist propa- 
ganda. 

I asked him, "Reverend Harrison, am 
I a racist?" 

Well, he laughs and says, "Hank, why 
you're no more of a racist than I'm a 
devil worshipper. The good Lord made 
some folks different from others, that's 
all I'll tell you, I sweated blood worrying 
that the family of Negroes would want to 
come to church here. It would have been 
quite a scene ordering them out. Some- 
times the womenfolk at church don't 
understand you've got to do things like 
that. If you let these people get a foot- 
hold, they'll try to come in and take over. 
"Hank, you done what was best for 
your wife's interests. Someday she'll see 
It and appreciate it." 

That made me feel better. But I used 
to lie awake at night_s wondering how 
Josie ever found out about Rose Bankus. 
There are things that women just aren't 
supposed to know about, and Rose 
Bankus is one of them. 

Rosie is a half-blood girl. You'd never 
know it, though, unless you saw her in 
good daylight. She's an amiable soul, 
lots of fun. From time to time she'd have 
a bunch of us guys over. She lives down 
by the levee with her two teenage 
daughters. We just had a good time, 
playing cards, and singing while she 
plays the piano, and occasionally one of 
us would go into the bedroom with one of 
the girls. 

The drunk in the next cell just vomited 
all over himself. I wish I could be as 
drunk as he is right now, so stinking 
drunk that I couldn't even remember 
what happened tonight. I wish all my 
shock and confusion would just melt into 
forgetfulness. 

My friend Jim Armstrong, the nicest 



46 



PROCESSED WORLD #16 



guy you'd ever want to meet, turns out to 
be a pervert. He wasn't a queer, but a 
rapist is almost just as bad. It makes me 
remember stories about rapists and 
murderers; everybody will think they're 
just quiet, normal people, and it turns 
out they raped and killed a bunch of 
people. 

I only had one other dealing with a sex 
criminal. One evening Josie came home, 
and there in the mailbox was a card from 
her cousin Tim, this real successful 
architect her family is so proud of, to 
bring the family and visit him some 
weekend in San Francisco and stay a few 
days. 

Cousin Tim lived in this real classy 
Victorian house on a hill. Inside it was as 
fancy as something out of a magazine: 
linen table cloths, blue water in the 
commode, and a bunch of paintings of 
something that you couldn't tell what it 
was supposed to be. Josie started 
making a fool out of herself, oohing and 
ahhing like she was at a fireworks show, 
till I told her to cut it out. 

Tim started bragging about some 
stupid Chinese vase in the corner that 
was supposed to be hundreds of years 
old. I shut him up real quick when I said, 
"This place is almost as fancy as the 
local whorehouse in Wheatfield." 

As he was fixing drinks, 1 whispered to 
Josie, "There's something I don't like 
about this guy, but I can't quite place 
it " 

I pretended that I needed to use the 
John, but I snuck into his bedroom and 
started looking through his chest of 
drawers. There was nothing suspicious 
there, so I started going through the 
closet. There in an old suitcase was a 
magazine with a bunch of naked men 
standing around and flexing their 
muscles. I turned beet red in disgust, 
flipping through the pages of his 
magazine. I've never seen anything so 
filthy or degraded in my life. 

There was only one thing to do in a 
situation like that. Josie never said much 
about it later, but I know she's proud of 
what I did. I went out to the living room 
with the magazine in my hand, thrusted 
it in Tim's surprised face, and said, "Is 
this the type of filth you're going to 
expose my wife and son to? Grab your 
suitcase, Josephina, and let's find us a 
hotel." I grabbed Willie in one hand and 
Josie in the other Poor woman, she was 
sobbing. It must have been a real shock 
to learn her cousin was queer. 

It was a year ago when Josie began 
nagging me .to find work. "Hank 
Mitchell, you've been using your back as 
an excuse for five years. I'm tired of 
having to work all day supporting both of 
us and then coming home to cook and 
clean house." 

I got a job pumping gas at Elmo's gas 
station That's when I met J im. He was a 



■^'^ 



■m^ 



emCenteri 



mechanic, a damn good one. We hit it! 
off. In two week we were like brothers. 

One afternoon at work when not much 
was happening, I said, "Jim, come on 
over here, I got something in my wallet 
to show you." Now, this was probably 
my first big mistake, but it seemed like 
tun at the time. "Jim," I said, "see this 
here naked woman, ain't she beautiful?" 

He agreed she was. 

"Doesn't she got a perfect set of 
boobs that hang high and solid?" 

He agreed with me again. 

"Well, come on over to dinner 
sometime and you can meet her. It's 
my wife." Josie would fall over 
backward if she knew I still had that 
picture of her. 

So one evening I brought Jim over to 
meet my wife. Josie decided this was the 
time to act peculiar and she said to me, 
"Why don't you let me know ahead of 
time when you're having people over for 
dinner?" 

But she and Jim seemed to get along 
okay after that. He insisted on helping 
her clear off the table, and he was even 
going to help her dry the dishes when I 
wised him up. I said, "Jim, if you ever 
want a woman to respect you, you can't 
help them around the house like this. It's 
okay tochangetheoil in her car or put in a 
new fan belt, but never, never help her 
with the dishes." My dad taught me 
well. 

Poor J im never had anyone to give him 
advice, which is the main reason why he 
doesn't have a girl friend. He works all 
day as a mechanic and goes to school 
studying electronics at night. I always 
said some people bury themselves 



^^**"*'Wifc«,2w. 



V 



PROCESSED WORLD 116 



47 




because they're afraid to go out and live 
life. 

When he left that night, Jim says to 
me, "You got a real fine woman, Hank 
Just make sure that you treat her 
decent." 

I laughed at this, and I said, "Shoot, I 
treat her fine. We're still crazy in love, 
just like when we was in high school." 

Jim started coming over and working 
on things in the house, fixing the gate 
that's been broken for two years, 
plastering that hole in the kitchen wall. I 
laughed and muttered to myself that 
man will never find a woman if he 
kowtows to them like that. 

One night a bunch of us was going out 
to see Rose Bankus. Jim was invited but 
he didn't want to come. He just said, 
"You guys go on without me, I got to 
study for class." 

This made him a laughing stock. 
Imagine giving up a night at Rose 
Bankus's to sit home staring at a book. 

The trouble between Jim and me 
started when he got a promotion at the 
gas station as manager. This was 
towards summer. 

Now, sometimes it gets so hot in 
Wheatfield that all you can think about is 
taking all your clothes off and drinking 
cold beer at Rose Bankus's; there's no 
breeze, nothing to cool you off. I always 
took time off from work during the 
summer when it got like that. Who can 
work when it's so damned hot? The boss 



used to threaten me, but now with my 
best buddy manager of the station, 
who's going to give me a bad time about 
this? 

Well, some buddy he turns out to be. I 
always know if I ever get rich and 
powerful, I'm always going to be the 
same person. I am still going to be 
friends with the same people I am now, 
and still give most of my money to poor 
people. But some people get a little 
power and it goes to their head. 

One day I came back after taking a few 
days off, and my best buddy is standing 
there with my final paycheck. He patted 
me on the back and said, "Sorry, Hank, I 
just can't be a mechanic working on cars 
and have to be interrupted to pump gas 
every five minutes. I hope this don't 
interfere with our friendship." 

Well, I guess this should have been 
my cue that there was something deeply 
disturbed and sick with this man. 

I told him right out, "Some friend you 
turned out to be. You can just forget 
about our hunting trip this weekend. I'll 
go by myself." 

That week was a rotten week. That 
very night Josie started bitching to me 
about when am I going to find a new job. 
She finally got to me, and I had to give 
her a good poke in the face to shut her 
up. 

It was a Friday morning early in June 
when I left to go hunting. Little Willie 
was with me. I was going to drop him off 



at my folks' house for a few days on the 
way up to the mountains. I'll always be 
grateful that he wasn't there for the 
awful things that happened. 

After two days on this hunting trip, 
I hadn't shot anything and 1 got lone- 
some. I decided to come back early. 

I turned around the corner to my 
house. It was all dark. I remember think- 
ing to myself that Josie's gone to bed 
early, so I'd better tiptoe not to awaken 
her. 

Then I heard the sounds coming from 
the bedroom. There was Josie's scream, 
and then a low moaning sound like no 
other sound the human voice makes. 

I'm standing there with my hunting 
rifle in my hand and in the next room my 
wife is being raped. Josie screamed 
again, and it was more than I could bear 
to know what she was going through. 
"I'll get him for hurting you, honey," 1 
said as I ran in. It was a few seconds 
later that I realized the man with half his 
head blown away was Jim Armstrong. 

Poor Josie went into hysteria. She 
locked herself into the bathroom and 
wouldn't come out till the police came. 

The police talked to Josie in one room 
and me in another room. I was sure they 
could figure out right away what 
happened. 

Shortly afterwards, they came and 
slapped handcuffs on me. "You guys are 
crazy," I said. "This guy was forcing my 
wife. I shot him in self-defense, the same 
way any of you guys would have done. 
No telling what he would have done if I 
hadn't come home when I did." 

"Sorry, Hank, your wife told us the 
true story." 

"What true story?" 

"You've been running around here all 
evening saying you'd get even with Jim 
Armstrong for sacking you at work. 
Finally you called him over for a drink, 
said you wanted to be friends, and you 
let him have it. Then you took off his 
clothes and told your wife to say that he 
was raping her." 

"Now, either you misunderstood her 
or she's delirious from the shock of 
getting raped, but that ain't at all what 
happened. You guys better take these 
handcuffs off me right away." 

But they didn't want to listen to me. 
So here I am in this stinking jail with 
drunks and thieves. A half hour ago they 
finally let me call Josie on the phone, but 
she didn't answer. That must mean 
she's on her way over here right now. 
She always been a vyoman I could 
depend on. 



-by Charles Alan Irwin 




Processed World, 55 Sutter Street #829, San Francisco, California 94104, USA 



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